Game 143: Odorizzi v. Capuano

As per Mark Feinsand, Brett Gardner will be out for a “significant amount of time,” as Joe Girardi stated “I’m not sure when we’ll get him back. It’s a concern of mine.” There are twenty games left in the season, including tonight, so it stands to reason that Gardner will not return in 2014.

So that’s awesome.

Tampa Bay Rays New York Yankees
Ben Zobrist, LF Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Brandon Guyer, CF Derek Jeter, SS
Evan Longoria, 3B Brian McCann, C
Wil Myers, RF Carlos Beltran, DH
James Loney, 1B Mark Teixeira, 1B
Yunel Escobar, SS Chase Headley, 3B
Logan Forsythe, 2B Ichiro Suzuki, RF
Ryan Hanigan, C Stephen Drew, 2B
Sean Rodriguez, DH Chris Young, LF
Jake Odorizzi, SP Chris Capuano, SP
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Should Yankees Sign Victor Martinez This Offseason?

New York Daily News writer John Harper wrote a column yesterday saying that the Yankees should sign Victor Martinez.

Martinez has had a career year at age 36 for the Detroit Tigers, as he has hit .335/.406/.571 with a 165 wRC+ and a .411 wOBA. The 30 home runs Martinez has hit already are a career high. He is the only player in MLB with an OBP that is over .400 and has an amazingly low 6.8 percent K rate. Martinez’ .315 BABIP is right in line with his career rate, so that suggests that he has not been overly lucky to have this career year.

Obviously, the Yankees need a hitter producing like Martinez and more than one of them. Their offense this year is among the worst in franchise history and has made this season brutal to watch. However, Martinez just does not seem to fit into the Yankees right now.

The Yankees desperately need to get younger, and Martinez would add another old position player to go along with Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez and Carlos Beltran.…

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Quick Hit: Can I Start Calling Them The B-Team Now?

If you’ve been hung up on the horrific offense, you might not have noticed this positive trend that Sweeny touched on last night.  The bullpen has been lights out for the last week.  20.2 scoreless innings is damn good and 7.2 of those innings have been pitched by the bargain bin collection of Huff, Whitley, Rogers, Hill, and Outman.  Add in another 3 from Shawn Kelley in 4 appearances and that’s more than half of that 20.2-inning scoreless streak being attributed to the 2nd, 3rd, and maybe 4th levels of the relief corps.

They don’t fill you with the level of confidence that comes with Betances and D-Rob, but give a tip of the cap to this crew.  They’re doing the job and doing it well when their name gets called.

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Quick hit: Thanks a lot, Yanks!

I was in my dad’s hospital room watching the Yankees/Rays game last night.

My poor dad, who had been asleep for most of my visit, actually had his eyes open so he was also watching the Yankees’ feeble attempts to get runners on base and score. At one point, he rolled his eyes and I’m pretty sure that if his arms weren’t strapped down – to prevent him from pulling out his lines – he would have waved his hands in disgust like he does when he’s healthy and at home.

Anyway, my dad watched the Yankees’ eighth and ninth innings and he just looked completely irritated and frustrated. So thanks a lot, Yankees, I actually saw a glimpse of my real dad for the first time in a while and it seems like your awful play brought it out.

Some of my thoughts from last night’s debacle:

  • The team is just boring to watch.
  • Even if it it’s not hit in a traditional 6-4-3 or 4-6-3 fashion, Derek Jeter will always seem to hit into a double play at the absolute worst time.
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Tanaka Update: Return To Sim Game City

As the Yankees drift further and further away from truly needing him to come back this season, Masahiro Tanaka presses forward on his rehab trail.  He returned to simulated game action yesterday, throwing a 3-inning, 45-pitch session prior to last night’s game.  Chad Jennings has the full story, but the long and short of it is that Tanaka said he felt better than he did in his last sim start and Joe and the coaching staff thought he looked a lot better.

The next step now is to see how his arm feels and responds to another between-start bullpen and then it sounds like he’ll get another sim start on Sunday.  After that, there’s a chance he could return to real game action by the end of next week.  That’s enough time for 2, maybe 3 starts depending on how Joe manages his rotation down the stretch.  Even not fully stretched out, 2-3 games of Tanaka is better than no Tanaka.  …

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Game 142 Recap: Rays 4 Yanks 3

Jeter K vs TB

Courtesy of Getty Images

If the Yankees were going to make even the most token of attempts to hang around in the Wild Card race, they were going to have to stop losing close games.  They opened a 3-game series against the Rays last night, and naturally they did exactly that, falling 4-3 thanks to some more self-inflicted offensive wounds.

Before we get to those, let’s talk about Hiroki Kuroda‘s night.  It started with a strikeout of the side in the top of the 1st and the appearance that he had his A-game going.  Then the top of the 2nd started and all that went out the window.  James Loney homered to lead off the inning to put the Rays out front.  In the 3rd they strung 4 singles together in a 5-batter span to put 2 more on the board and hit 3 straight with 1 out in the 4th to make it 4-0 and end Kuroda’s night.  Whatever command he had in the 1st disappeared after that inning.  …

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Game 142: Archer v. Kuroda

As per Chad Jennings, Brett Gardner is out with an abdominal strain and Martin Prado continues to deal with hamstring issues.

Tampa Bay Rays New York Yankees
Ben Zobrist, 2B Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
David DeJesus, DH Derek Jeter, SS
Evan Longoria, 3B Brian McCann, C
James Loney, 1B Carlos Beltran, DH
Wil Myers, RF Mark Teixeira, 1B
Matt Joyce, LF Chase Headley, 3B
Yunel Escobar, SS Ichiro Suzuki, RF
Kevin Kiermaier, CF Stephen Drew, 2B
Ryan Hanigan, C Chris Young, LF
Chris Archer, SP Hiroki Kuroda, SP
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A Second Audition For John Ryan Murphy


Courtesy of the AP

J.R. Murphy was the breakout star of the Yankee farm system in 2013.  He tore it up with the bat and glove in Double-A and Triple-A and earned himself a September call up.  Earlier this season, he returned to the show as John Ryan Murphy, parlaying last year’s success into another call up to replace the injured Francisco Cervelli.  Murphy impressed coaches and teammates alike with his strong all-around skill set, showing good natural hitting ability and advanced defensive and game management tactics for a 22-year-old catcher.  He had a .407/.429/.556 slash line in his first 11 games.

Murphy legitimized himself as a Major League catching prospect with that hot start to his 2014 season, and when the eventual regression at the plate came (7-36 with 11 K in his next 13 games), it was an expected and understandable decision to send him back down to Triple-A and let Cervelli re-assume his regular backup duties.  Interestingly enough, Murphy didn’t start raking again upon his return to SWB.  …

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Has Teixeira finally learned to beat the shift?

There is no sugar-coating the fact that Mark Teixeira has had a disappointing season, as he’s battled injuries all year while producing career-worst numbers across the board.

His struggles have become even more acute over the past month, with .602 OPS since August 1 that ranks among the worst in the majors. Prior to August his OPS was a respectable .790 –- certainly not MVP-caliber awesome, but also not replacement-level awful.

However, there is perhaps one positive trend that has emerged from this most recent slump by Teixeira: it appears that he may have finally learned how to beat the shift.

[Note: Since the majority of the shifts that Teixeira sees come from when he is batting from the left side and to simplify the analysis here, I'm going to focus on just those at-bats.]

Teixeira’s frustrations with the shift have been well-documented, and have undoubtedly contributed to his rapidly declining batting average since joining the Yankees.

The first four months of this season followed a familiar script as Teixeira routinely pounded the ball into the ground towards the right side, directly into the shifted defense.…

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