The Farm Report 5/16/11

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees (AAA): Since we last checked in on the AAA Yankees’ affiliate, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre has gone 4-4 and are currently riding a three game win streak.  They dropped two games to the Pawtucket Red Sox before splitting a series with the Buffalo Bison.  The Yankees have taken the first two games of a four game series against Pawtucket this weekend.

Pitching has been a big part of the Yankees recent success.  D.J. Mitchell (SP) has been coming on strong in Scranton lately.  He made two starts this past week, and gave the Yankees exactly what they needed.  He pitched 13.2 innings over the two games, giving up just three earned runs and eight hits.  He struck out eight and walked four.  On the season, Mitchell is 2-2 with a 2.50 ERA, 23 strikeouts and sixteen walks.  He has given up just three long balls over his 36 innings.  Kevin Whelan (CP) has been doing his job out of the pen.  He made four appearances over the last week and pitched 4.1 innings, giving up just one run and four hits.  He has four strikeouts and two walks.

Jesus Montero (C), who is becoming more intriguing as the Jorge Posada story drags on, has cooled a bit this May, though his line of .336/.365/.437/.802 is still impressive.  He went 3-5 yesterday with a double and a RBI.  He also had a big homer against Buffalo on May 12thJorge Vazquez (1B) continues his hot hitting.  He has three multi-hit games in the last week, going 2-4, 3-5 and 2-4 on the 9th, 10th and 14th respectively.  His hits on the ninth were both solo homers.  There are good signs from Brandon Laird (3B) finally.  Over his last ten games he has hit .317/.333/.390/.724.  That has only brought his line for the season up to .228/.262/.317/.579, but at least it is a start.

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Splitting Hairs: A(nother) Granular Look at the Yankees’ Slump

(The following is being syndicated from The Captain’s Blog). The longer the Yankees’ offensive malaise continues, the more it becomes confusing. Over a three-week period that has seen the team’s per game production plummet by almost two runs, no one explanation has been evident. Nonetheless, there must be something that stands out as a reasonable cause for the batting slump that most of the team is currently enduring. After scanning the Yankees’ season splits in 2011, one number jumps out more than any other. In 30 plate appearances with a 3-0 count, the Yankees haven’t recorded a single hit. Of course, Continue reading Splitting Hairs: A(nother) Granular Look at the Yankees’ Slump

Battling Irrationality…

I don’t know why I continue to read the New York Post sports section. It’s irrational, poorly written, and panders to the lowest common denominator of sports fans. This latest nugget from Brian Costello is no different.

“The drama surrounding Jorge Posada was a 24-hour distraction from the real crisis the Yankees are dealing with — they have lost a season-high five in a row and seemingly can’t do anything right.

The Red Sox completed a sweep at Yankee Stadium last night, sending the Yankees to a 7-5 loss that featured another brutal error, failure in the clutch and more uninspired play.

A crowd of 46,945 witnessed another dismal outing by the $207 million club that has lost nine of its last 12 and 12 of its last 20. The Yankees now have one more win than the Mets, and the Red Sox are just one game behind them in the AL East.”

#facepalm

Considering my team loyalties, I’m probably the last person you want to hear from right now, but please try to hear me out. Contrary to what the Post, Daily News, or Bleacher Report tries to tell you: the sky is not falling. The Yankees are not a dismal, lethargic, un-clutch team who’s lost their “desire,” “grit,” or “determination.” They don’t need a “gut check,” or have that “fire in their bellies” re-ignited. (Although, I hear Bartolo Colon has an extra spicy-chicken black bean burrito recipe that will help with creating some intestinal “belly fire.”) They aren’t hitting “too many home runs,” and they don’t need to work on “manufacturing runs.” All of that’s nonsense.

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The Alex Rodriguez Offense Hostage Drama continues

For reasons that no one has really been able to explain, Alex Rodriguez has continued to look completely lost at the plate now for over a month. Last week I thought I saw some signs that he might be snapping out of it, but after putting up a .200/.259/.360 line this past week (compared with .231/.286/.231 the week before) things don’t seem to be getting any better for Alex. So what on earth is wrong with the man who tore through the AL for his first 15 games to the tune of a .354/.492/.792 line but has since hit .183/.227/.239 Continue reading The Alex Rodriguez Offense Hostage Drama continues

Buster: Yankees mad at Jeter now

Oh dear God:

According to sources, the club’s management was surprised and frustrated by what Jeter said — particularly in his standing as captain — even after Posada acknowledged that he was wrong in his actions Saturday and apologized to manager Joe Girardi.

Posada, who is struggling at the plate, was dropped to the ninth spot in the lineup for Saturday’s game and asked out of the lineup, feeling disrespected.

Jeter, who is close friends with Posada and described him on Sunday as someone he regards as a brother, repeatedly deflected questions about Posada’s actions, and said there was no reason for him to apologize to teammates, after declining to play on Saturday. The team’s front office was so angry with what Posada did that they considered releasing the veteran immediately.

If I may, for a moment: what the hell is goin’ on out there?!

Seriously though, I don’t get this for a second. Apparently the Yankees are mad Jeter “exonerated” Posada of wrong-doing, but that seems like a pretty minor rhetorical quibble, to me. Certainly nothing worth keeping this wound open over when everyone else was ready to move on. And the last sentence sounds like exaggeration on the part of the source. I don’t doubt the Yankees “considered” releasing Posada, but it’s also pretty clear they decided not to, and just because it was kicked around doesn’t mean it was anything more than a heat of the moment reaction that was thought better of later.

And that’s pretty much where I thought we were this morning. Emotions ran high on all sides Saturday night, but everyone came in yesterday acting like adults, said the right things, and the controversy was dead. But now someone in the front office not only wants to keep it going but wants to drag Jeter into it too?

There’s only two possibilities here, as I see it; either there are much deeper issues in the organization with Jorge Posada and Derek Jeter than anyone seems to fathom, or someone in the Yankees front office (yes, I’m looking at you Randy) needs to grow the hell up. Continue reading Buster: Yankees mad at Jeter now

Exploring Beltran

What’s going to happen if Jorge Posada continues to struggle? Throw away the mental stuff from this weekend for a second and let’s talk purely physical struggles. If the hits don’t start falling, there’s no way the Yankees can justify running him out there every day. I have to acknowledge this weekend, though, and given the way that went down, benching Posada outright could be a problem. Again pretending, let’s assume Posada learned from this experience, knows he’s hurting the team, and takes the benching without any complaints. What alternative could the Yankees go to? They could just take the Continue reading Exploring Beltran

Why I would cheer Posada too

Reputation is important. Reputation is a prism through which we understand the actions of different people and make logical inferences about information. It would be very hard to process information on a daily basis for me if you took away the source’s reputation or prior history of accurately reporting stories.

Dealing with people on a personal level is no different. When people act out of character, especially in a negative manner, it’s jarring to us. It’s jarring both because it’s unexpected and because it’s not like the person. It takes you aback, and forces you to notice and react, because it’s very hard to ignore things that are very different to us.

Such is the case with Jorge Posada asking to be removed from the lineup Saturday night. This isn’t “Manny being Manny,” or another player who has his commitment to his teammates or his work ethic challenged, this is Jorge Posada, a guy whose commitment and work ethic have never been challenged to the best of my knowledge. He’s also a guy who’s going through some real struggles at the plate right now, in what I have to imagine is the low point of his career. Every player slumps, but slumps end. I don’t think any of us who haven’t been professional athletes at a high level can understand how frustrating it is when the slump won’t end, especially when you’re about to turn 40. It’s the athletic equivalent of staring down you’re own mortality, and I have to believe it’s a very difficult thing to do.

And that’s my position on what Jorge did Saturday night. A guy who’s been nothing a hard worker and great company man asked for a personal day. It might be a grave sin in the eyes of some “baseball people,” but oh well. Aside from the human aspect of things, if a player told me he needed a personal day, I’d assume he wasn’t my best option to play that day anyway. If such an event was a regular occurrence action might need to be taken, but in Posada’s case, so far as we know, we’re literally talking about one time in a decade and a half long career. If someone like that hasn’t earned the benefit of a day off to deal mentally with what may well be the end of a stellar career, then we might as well start really playing the games on computer simulators.

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Red Sox complete first three-game sweep of Yankees in New Yankee Stadium history; send Yanks to season-high 5th straight loss

The Red Sox prolonged the Yankees’ misery with a 7-5 victory Sunday night, marking the first three-game sweep by an opponent in New Yankee Stadium history, and sending the reeling Yanks to their fifth straight loss. This one actually started out in rather shocking fashion, with the Yankees getting to Jon Lester immediately for a run in the first, and then three(!) more in the second on an Andruw Jones bomb and Curtis Granderson two-run jack. Without looking it up, I have a feeling that that was probably the first time the Yankees have ever hit two home runs in Continue reading Red Sox complete first three-game sweep of Yankees in New Yankee Stadium history; send Yanks to season-high 5th straight loss

IIATMS Morning Update: 5/16/2011

Look at it this way everyone; at least you’re not Mets fans.

  • I don’t even feel like talking about last night’s game. What is there to say? The Yankees have now lost 5 in a row, and all of the losses are starting to bleed together. I’ve had plenty of frustrating times following baseball, but I don’t remember ever being this frustrated by a team. Even in 2009, there were plenty of frustrating moments, especially in the first three months of the season. I think the series with Washington that year may have been the low point, and it just sort of felt like they were never going to start clicking on all cylinders, and then all of a sudden they did. Maybe it’s “covering” them on a daily basis now that’s compounding it, or maybe it’s that I simply don’t have as much faith in this roster as I did in 2009. Either way, ugh.
  • And in the next moment, something truly absurd happens and I just start laughing about it. This past week has just been so weird.
  • On the other hand, the Yankees have now committed 13 errors in their last 10 games, and that doesn’t even count Robinson Cano‘s failure to turn a double play Friday night. The sloppy play is more maddening than the losing, honestly, and they really need to clean it up. At this point I just want to see two things; guys playing hard and no sloppy defensive mistakes. If those two things are happening and things still aren’t going right, then it is what it is I guess.
  • On a more positive note, the reception Jorge Posada got from the crowd last night was fantastic. First he got a shout out in the roll call, and then, when he came up to pinch hit in the 8th, he got a raucous standing ovation. I really hope this incident is over and done with, and I definitely hope we don’t get some narrative about it being a “stain on his career” or something. The guy was struggling, he’s been nothing but a warrior for this franchise for 16 years, he asked for a day off, and then his frustration boiled over and he did/said some inappropriate things. He’s apologized for it, everyone’s forgiven him, and that should be that. Considering the guy’s performance and the amount of effort he’s given the team over his career, this weekend doesn’t even deserve to be a footnote on Jorge’s career. Don’t let anyone at the Post or Daily News tell you otherwise.
  • Also, because things just aren’t going well enough, Rafael Soriano‘s elbow is barking again. He’ll throw a bullpen session today, but as of now it sounds like he won’t pitch until Wednesday at the earliest. The Yankees are currently carrying 13 pitchers and working on a pretty thin bench, so you can put me in the camp that thinks Soriano should just be put on the DL so the Yankees can call up another hitter. But hey, Brian Cashman talks too much.
  • And just to keep things in perspective; it’s May 16th. Roughly this time in 2009, A-Rod had only been back for a week, the Yankees lost a bunch of games to Boston and Tampa Bay in a row at home, and were in the midst of losing their first eight games to the Red Sox. Just a reminder that things that seem really bad now can be an almost-fond memory if things wind up turning out well.

No links today, there’s nothing in the papers worth reading, even for laughs. Continue reading IIATMS Morning Update: 5/16/2011