Instant replay a winner for Yankees

What is Joe Girardi thinking? (Photo: MLB.com)

What is Joe Girardi thinking? (Photo: MLB.com)

There are very few things that a manager and his coaching staff has total control of during a game.

He can set the lineups, but can’t make a player hit a home run on a curveball off the plate.

He can position the fielders in an optimal arrangement to maximize coverage of the diamond, but can’t make the fielder dive to his left or right to get a groundball in the hole.

He can bring in his best middle reliever in the seventh inning to escape a bases-loaded jam, but can’t make that pitcher execute the perfect sequence of pitches to get the batter out.

However, there is one area where a manager and his coaching staff can make a decision that directly affects the game: the new instant replay/challenge rule.

Notes on the Yankees instant replay challenges
The Yankees don’t have the league’s most productive offense or pitching staff or defense, but they seem to have mastered this new ability to challenge umpire calls via replay.…

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On Yesterday’s 9th Inning Pitching Decision

I’ll try to make this quick.  Regardless of how any of us feel about relief pitchers and relief roles and how managers go about using their bullpen, I think we can all agree on these facts:

  • Yesterday’s game was critically important
  • David Robertson is the best or 2nd best reliever in the Yankee ‘pen
  • David Robertson was well rested yesterday (hadn’t pitched since Sunday)
  • David Robertson is better than Shawn Kelley
  • The Yankees needed to prevent the Tigers from scoring in the 9th to keep the game going

So then why was it that Kelley got the call to pitch the bottom of the 9th over D-Rob?  It made no sense.  Having your closer available to close the game only matters when you have the lead.  If you don’t, the most important thing is to keep the other team from scoring so that your offense can have another opportunity (or opportunities) to score to take the lead.

This wasn’t the first time that Joe has taken that approach with D-Rob this season and watched as his choice gave up the game-losing run while his best reliever sat on the bench.  …

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Yankeemetrics: August 25-28 (Royals, Tigers)

The Yankees had a lot to celebrate in Wednesday's win. (Photo: Rick Osentoski/USA Today Sports)

The Yankees had a lot to celebrate in Wednesday’s win. (Photo: Rick Osentoski/USA Today Sports)

Big Game Mike
The Yankees started off their seven-game road trip with an impressive 8-1 win in Kansas City, a game that was a makeup from a rainout in June. Michael Pineda had yet another brilliant outing, allowing just one run on five hits in his third start since coming off the DL.

He is the third American League pitcher in the last 100 years to allow two runs or fewer and five hits or fewer in each of his first seven starts of the season. The others are White Sox pitcher Cisco Carlos in 1967 and Angels pitcher Jered Weaver in 2006.

Jacoby Ellsbury had three hits, including the 1,000th hit of his career, earning our obscure Yankeemetric of the Week:

He is the 11th major-league player from Oregon with at least 1,000 career hits, but just the second one of those to reach the milestone in a Yankee uniform.…

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Game 132 Recap: Tigers 3 Yankees 2

Kelley vs DET

“Stupid glove!!” Courtesy of Getty Images

I’m sure people will say that my quick post about the Yankees beating up on some of the AL’s best aces was a guaranteed jinx for their chances in this afternoon’s series finale against Detroit, and maybe it was.  But then this is why this team has been so maddening to follow and write about this season.  They look like world beaters against one of the best pitchers on the planet one day, they can’t scratch more than 2 across against a rookie and a collection of B-team relievers. That was a big body blow series loss.

I feel like I write the same basic thing about Hiroki Kuroda for every start he makes.  He was pretty good, not great, gave up a few runs on a few hits in a few bad innings and he was out after 6+.  That was the script again today.  2 Detroit singles and a sac fly got them their first run in the 2nd, and Rajai Davis put a good swing on a sinker on the outer half with 2 outs in the 5th to drive home the second run.  …

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Game 132: Kuroda v. Lobstein

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Yankee Lineup Destroying Aces Right Now

Combined Numbers for Chris Sale, James Shields, and David Price this season: 3.02 ERA, 34 W, 12.0 fWAR, 535 K in 530.1 IP

Combined Numbers for Sale, Shields, and Price against the Yankees over the last 4 days: 14.2 IP, 26 H, 18 R (14 ER), 7 BB, 13 K

That’s impressive.  That’s damn impressive.  Say what you want about the overall performance of the offense this year, and there’s not much nice to say about it, but that’s an awesome line to look at.  I don’t care how it comes.  Power display like against Shields, dink and dunk hits like against Sale, or a seemingly endless cycle of hits like against Price, doesn’t matter.  If the Yankees can keep hitting like they have been against the AL’s best against the rest of the AL, they’re going to be in the playoff race all the way to the end.

P.S. h/t to Axisa for calling this out.  I never would have thought to look up the numbers on my own.

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Game 131 Quick Recap: NYY 8 DET 4

Greene vs DET

David who? Courtesy of the AP

There wasn’t much to this one really.  All you need to know is that the Yankees pounded David Price into Bolivian and cruised to an easy victory after putting up 8 runs in the top of the 3rd.

So yeah, that 8-run 3rd.  Price gave up a single and a walk in the 1st and the Yankees got 2 more base hits in the 2nd without scoring.  Jacoby Ellsbury led off the top of the 3rd with his second hit of the game and the flood gates immediately opened.  The next 8 batters all got a hit, meaning the Yankees literally batted around in the inning to accumulate those 8 runs.  The big hits were run-scoring doubles by Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira.  Price didn’t record an out in the inning before being pulled and got tuned up for an even dozen hits and all 8 runs.  An endless parade of base hits.  If only one of them could have been a home run.…

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Game 131: Greene v. Price

Tonight will be Shane Greene‘s second start against the Detroit Tigers – the first time in his brief Major League career that he has faced a return engagement with an opponent (unless you include his ugly mop-up appearance against the Red Sox in late April). This represents a significant challenge to many young pitchers, and while little can be discerned from a single start, it will be intriguing to see how the stout Tigers offense deals with Greene this time around and, even more importantly, how the rookie responds.

While you’re waiting for the game to begin, check out this terrific Q&A with Greene from this past weekend, wherein he shows an impressive amount of self-awareness.

New York Yankees Detroit Tigers
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF Ian Kinsler, 2B
Derek Jeter, SS Torii Hunter, RF
Martin Prado, 2B Miguel Cabrera, 1B
Mark Teixeira, 1B Victor Martinez, DH
Carlos Beltran, RF J.D. Martinez, LF
Brian McCann, DH Nick Castellanos, 3B
Chase Headley, 3B Alex Avila, C
Brett Gardner, LF Eugenio Suarez, SS
Francisco Cervelli, C Rajai Davis, RF
Shane Greene, SP David Price, SP
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Quick Hit: Yankees Sign Chris Young, and Tonight’s Lineup

As per Jon Heyman, the Yankees have signed outfielder Chris Young to a minor-league deal.

Long regarded as a fantastic platoon player due to his strong defense all over the outfield, legitimate power/speed combination, and strong production against southpaws (116 wRC+ against LHP, including a 131 wRC+ from 2010 through 2012), Young has struggled mightily over the last two years against pitchers of all shapes and sizes. He does provide a more proven right-handed bench option for the Yankees, however, and it would not be shocking if the team caught lightning in a bottle – and, worst-case scenario, the cost is nothing more than the league-minimum salary.

Here’s tonight’s lineup, courtesy of Rotowire:

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

It’s interesting to see the slumping Brett Gardner slip in the lineup after being the team’s best hitter for the better part of the season … particularly as a certain someone continues to hold down the fort at the top of the lineup.…

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