Infield Woes On Full Display Yesterday

Question.  What do you get when you combine a 40-year-old shortstop with already severely limited range coming back from a series of various leg injuries, a 36-year-old second baseman who’s played in only 29.6% of all regular season games since 2010, a 26-year-old MiL lifer playing third base, and a backup catcher playing first base for the first time since high school?  Why it’s yesterday’s starting infield, course!

Whether you watched it live or read about it later, you probably already know that yesterday afternoon’s game was a disaster.  Ivan Nova and his poor command are mostly to blame for that, but the infield deserves its fair share too.  The argument could be easily made that nobody on that infield deserved to be a Major League starter as his position and yet there the 4 of them were.  On this day, this was the best a team with a near $204 million Opening Day payroll could muster.

There was Derek Jeter, failing to get to a ball to his left in the 1st inning that was about as tailor made a double play ball as the batter could have possibly hit.  …

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Let’s Forget This Game Ever Happened: Orioles 14, Yankees 5

So, how would you describe today’s game against the Orioles?

I would describe it like this:
Dumpster-Fire

The Good Stuff

  • Yangervis Solarte continued his hot hitting. He finished 2-4 with a double. Solarte now has six doubles so far this season.
  • Jacoby Ellsbury also had a strong day at the plate, finishing 3-4 with a double and he also stole a base.
  • Alfonso Soriano and Kelly Johnson both hit their first home runs of the year.
  • Dellin Betances pitched the ninth inning and struck out the side.

The Not So Good Stuff

  • Ivan Nova was completely ineffective in his brief outing. He gave up seven runs on ten hits (including a home run to Adam Jones) in 3 2/3 innings.
  • The bad defense didn’t really help him either. And it’s not that the infielders committed any errors, it’s just that they’re awful, have no range and Francisco Cervelli was playing first base. If Francisco Cervelli is part of your “Mark Teixeira contingency plan,” your team is going to have issues.
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Examining Tanaka’s Initial PITCHf/x Data

The Canadian Press

The Canadian Press

Before the Yankees signed Masahiro Tanaka, I looked back to some available PITCHf/x data in 2009, when the Japanese starter pitched out of the bullpen for his home country in the World Baseball Classic. It was one of the only opportunities we had at seeing his PITCHf/x data, and unfortunately it was a very old small sample size.

What we learned from 2009 was that Tanaka had incredible command of the strike zone, and a brilliant ability to spin the ball. His four-seam fastball showed tremendous movement, particularly vertically, which led to scouts calling it straight. His slider’s movement and velocity matched up well with one of the greatest sliders in the MLB, Zack Greinke‘s. His splitter movement was unique, showing both drop and depth like a strong changeup, though it matched up best with fellow Japanese starter Yu Darvish. Here is the pitch movement from this 2009 outing.

chart-1

This brought me to the conclusion that Tanaka could have two very good out pitches in his splitter and slider, due to both movement and velocity that matched other pitchers that had success.…

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Game 8: Going For Three in a Row

The Yankees opened the home portion of their season with a 4-2 victory over the Orioles yesterday afternoon which was great but as with all aspects of life there is always bad news to go along with the good news. In the Yankees’ case it was closer David Robertson being placed on the 15-day disabled list with a groin injury. Because of that and because Shawn Kelley pitched two games in a row, the Yankees don’t actually have a closer for today. At least they don’t according to what manager Joe Girardi told the beat writers before the game.

And in “is this actually happening or are they celebrating April Fools’ Day late” news, Francisco Cervelli will be the starting first baseman this afternoon.

This could be an extremely frustrating game to watch or the Yankees will shock everyone and win convincingly.

Here are your lineups:

ORIOLES
Markakis RF
Young DH
Davis 1B
Jones CF
Wieters C
Cruz LF
Lombardozzi 2B
Flaherty SS
Schoop 3B

YANKEES
Gardner LF
Jeter SS
Ellsbury CF
Beltran RF
Soriano DH
McCann C
Cervelli 1B
Roberts 2B
Solarte 3B

Today’s pitching matchup is Wei-Yin Chen LHP vs.…

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Bernie Williams should be celebrated with The Core Four

BernieWilliamsThe Core Four.

New York Yankees fans aren’t going to escape this all season as the final member of this group plays his final season. Derek Jeter. Mariano Rivera. Andy Pettitte. Jorge Posada. Great players who have given Yankees fans countless memories.

But one beloved former Yankee has...

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Adam Warren, Shutdown Reliever

Adam Warren

Gas face…

I guess that’s what we get for being on the right side of the injury luck coin in Spring Training, huh?  After making it through March almost completely unscathed, the Yankees have now lost 2 key players as a result of last weekend’s series in Toronto.  On Friday night, it was Mark Teixeira straining his hamstring and heading to the 15-day DL.  On Sunday night, David Robertson joined him when he strained his groin.  The team officially announced his DL trip yesterday afternoon, creating more stir in an already very new and unsettled bullpen and giving the Yanks another early-season obstacle to overcome.

With Robertson unavailable for the next few weeks, Joe will go with Shawn Kelley as his closer.  He was already working as D-Rob’s primary 8th inning setup man, so it’s the natural role progression when the closer goes down.  The bigger issue now may be who fills Kelley’s spot in the 8th.  There is more than one viable option out there, albeit none that are proven options.  …

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Yankees Trade Nunez To Twins For Miguel Sulbaran

The Yankees designated Eduardo Nunez for assignment just before their first game of the year, and today they’ve finally traded him to the Twins for left-handed pitcher Miguel Sulbaran. The pitcher is just 20 years old and was assigned to the Single-A Cedar Rapids Kernels by the Twins this season. Chances are that he’ll end up in Charleston with the River Dogs once the deal goes through.

Sulbaran joined the Twins in 2013 as part of a trade that sent Drew Butera to the Dodgers. A starter his whole career, the southpaw started this season in the bullpen. He throws a low-90′s fastball and two breaking pitches. It’s not too late to keep him as a starter, so we’ll see what the Yankees do over the coming days.

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Happy Home Opener: Yankees 4, Baltimore 2

The Yankees home opener was special day for fans. The Core Four reunited for Derek Jeter’s last home opener, having Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera throw out the ceremonial first pitches to Jeter and Jorge Posada, respectively. However, there was still a game to be played.

Hiroki Kuroda mixed up his pitches, throwing sliders, splitters and curve balls. He threw six good innings, but had a shaky seventh before the bullpen came in to finish the game. Kuroda gave up eight hits, two runs, struck out four and walked none.

Yangervis Solarte broke a 1-1 tie in the fourth on a single, continuing his hot start. Yankees managed to put together a couple of runs in the fifth on a single by Jacoby Ellsbury and a bases loaded walk to Kelly Johnson to make it 4-1.

Shawn Kelley earned his first save of the season in a 4-2 win over the Baltimore Orioles.

The Good Stuff

- Solarte continues to get on base.…

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Quick Hit: David Robertson To The DL With A Groin Injury

According to the YES Network announcers, David Robertson is headed to the DL with a groin injury. No word yet on the extent of it, but it’s odd to hear about this considering he was throwing 94-95 mph yesterday afternoon. Shawn Kelley will take over the closing duty, and he notched his first save today. The Yankees will probably call up another reliever, and my bet is Preston Claiborne. Long term, the Yankees already had little depth with high leverage relievers, and although they could get something big out of Dellin Betances or Adam Warren, the team may want to target another reliever in an Eduardo Nunez trade.

Update: (4:32 PM) In unrelated news, the Yankees announced that Mark Teixeira‘s injury was a grade 1 hamstring strain. This is the most minor strain, so Teixeira may only need the minimum 15 days on the DL.

Update: (4:37 PM) Robertson’s injury is also a grade 1 strain, but to the groin.…

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