Game 119: The Return of Big Mike

Michael Pineda returns to the Yankees’ starting rotation tonight. Let’s hope all goes well and that if he’s using pine tar, he’s hiding it well. Although, Buck Showalter spoke with reporters earlier today and said he wouldn’t care if Pineda used pine tar, in fact, he seems to be encouraging other pitchers to do the same.

I don’t trust him. I think it’s a trap.

Anyway, here are your lineups:

YANKEES
Brett Gardner LF
Derek Jeter SS
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Carlos Beltran DH
Chase Headley 3B
Stephen Drew 2B
Martin Prado RF
Francisco Cervelli C

ORIOLES
Nick Markakis RF
Chris Davis 3B
Adam Jones CF
Nelson Cruz DH
Delmon Young LF
Steve Pearce 1B
Ryan Flaherty SS
Jonathan Schoop 2B
Nick Hundley C

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Quick Hit: The Rebirth Of ManBan

Way back after the end of last season, I wrote a post hypothesizing and somewhat advocating for the idea of Manny Banuelos being a contender for a Major League rotation spot this year.  I knew the team was going to play it extra safe with him and they have, but I also knew that there was going to be a need for starting pitching at some point.  My rationale was that if Banuelos was healthy and stretched out, he was just as good a fill-in candidate as anybody else.

For the better part of this season, his first back from TJS, ManBan has been neither stretched out, healthy, nor very good.  Many of his early-season starts were limited to no more than 3 innings and he missed chunks of time in May and late June with blister problems and shoulder fatigue.  He went through a 4-game stretch in which he gave up 12 ER and walked 6 in 8.2 innings pitched after coming back from the shoulder-related time off.  …

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A Refresher Course On Michael Pineda

Pineda vs CHC

Courtesy of Getty Images

It’s been almost 4 months since Michael Pineda pitched for the Yankees.  16 weeks exactly.  111 days.  That’s a pretty long time, and with his Yankee career up to this point consisting of only the 4 starts he made this earlier season, it raises or re-raises a lot of questions about what we can expect from him tonight and for the remainder of the season.  What kind of velocity will he have on his fastball?  Will he be able to sustain it?  How sharp will his slider be?  How will his command be?  How many pitches/innings will Joe let him throw?  How many will he be able to throw?  Will he get hurt again?  It’s not a short list.

In an attempt to answer or bare minimum be better prepared to answer those questions, let’s take a look back at Pineda’s 4 games in April and revisit what he did in his only meaningful time as a member of the New York Yankees.…

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Wednesday Morning Food For Thought: Hirok Skip A Cause For Concern?

The big story to come out of last night’s rain-related postponement was Michael Pineda‘s return staying on schedule.  Rather than push everybody back in the rotation a day, the Yankees elected to keep Pineda slated for tonight’s start and moved Shane Greene back a few days to Saturday.  That sets up Brandon McCarthy, Greene, and Chris Capuano for the weekend series against Tampa Bay.

The smaller, but not insignificant, part of that story is Greene taking Hiroki Kuroda‘s spot in the rotation while Kuroda gets bumped back to Tuesday against the Astros.  Cash was quick to let it be known that the decision is not due to injury, but did tell Mark Feinsand that the team feels “he would benefit from the rest.”

Well what does that mean?  Is Hirok tired?  Did he say something to somebody after his last start?  Is there some kind of smaller injury that the team doesn’t want to disclose?  Those 2 declarations made back-to-back makes the situation seem sketchier than it needs to be.  …

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Yankees historically bad clutch hitting

This is a familiar shot for the Yankees this season. (Photo: Mark Bonifacio/New York Daily News)

This is a familiar scene for the Yankees this season. (Photo: Mark Bonifacio/New York Daily News)

It’s a minor miracle that my television set has survived the entire season so far, given the numerous times I wanted to throw hard objects at the screen in frustration after watching yet another Yankee ground out to end an inning with a couple men on base.

Though is there is little evidence that “clutch” hitting is a repeatable skill, what has already happened in the past is real and cannot be undone. And what the Yankees have done in pressure situations so far this season is nearing historic, record-setting lows.

To measure the performance of the team’s bats in various situations, I used a stat found on baseball-reference.com called Split OPS+ (adjusted OPS relative to the league’s OPS in the split). A 100 is league average, and each point up or down is one percentage point above or below league average.

There are a couple advantages to using this statistic:

1) OPS is a better measurement to use than batting average, since a walk can be just as valuable as a hit in these situations and a homer is definitely more valuable than a single.…

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Rainout Open Thread: 8/12/14

As you all know by now, tonight’s game has been postponed – the makeup game is in September – so in lieu of a game thread, we are posting an open thread.

Feel free to talk about everything under the sun. You know the sun. It’s that big yellow ball of brightness that is usually in the sky. It seems to be absent here today.

Just be nice, respectful and have a good night.

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Tonight’s Game Rained Out, No Makeup Date Announced (UPDATED)

The Orioles made it official about a half hour ago.  Tonight’s second game of this early-week series has been postponed due to rain.  The weather in Baltimore is horrible right now, like flash flood warning bad, and is not expected to let up until much later tonight, so chances of getting the game in this evening were already slim to none.

No makeup date has been officially announced yet by either team or MLB, but word around the Twittersphere is that September 12th looks like the most likely date as part of a doubleheader.  The Yankees have also not announced how this postponement will affect their rotation plans for the rest of the week.  Shane Greene was scheduled to start tonight with Michael Pineda expected to be activated off the DL and follow him tomorrow.  More on these parts of the story to come…

** UPDATE 5:26 PM- Via Meredith Marakovits, The Yanks have announced that they will keep Pineda scheduled to pitch tomorrow.  

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Can Greene be money again vs Orioles?

Shane Greene faces perhaps the biggest test of his young career tonight when he takes the mound against the division-leading Orioles.

Not only is winning this game crucial to the Yankees razor-thin playoff chances, but the O’s are the first team who will see him a second time as a starter (he has pitched against the Red Sox twice, though one game was a relief outing where he faced only five batters).

Greene has made six starts and has mixed results so far, with three excellent outings and three mediocre outings. One of those outstanding starts was a month ago in Baltimore, the same place he’ll be pitching tonight.

What can we learn from the differences in his pitching performances during his good starts versus his bad starts, and can he neutralize the strong Oriole bats again tonight?

Stay grounded
The biggest takeaway from looking at his good/bad splits is that he needs to keep the ball on the ground to be successful.…

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Just A Friendly Reminder, Boys…

It’s simple physics.  Don’t think too much, don’t swing too hard, don’t even try to really do too much.  Just calculate the velocity, V, in relation to the trajectory, T, in which G, gravity, of course remains a constant, and you’ll be out of this slump in no time.

P.S.- I couldn’t go back and find it, but I’ve definitely used that clip before on AB4AR and I’m pretty sure the Yanks turned it around after that.  So when the offense breaks out for 8 runs tonight and they win the next 2 games, you’re welcome.

P.P.S.- Look at Jeter’s hair there.  Now look at it today.  How are we not talking about that more?

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