Friday Afternoon Linkapalooza: 8/21/15

By the time this posts, I’ll most likely be napping.  Sleep cycles have been abysmal this week.  Let’s get right to the links, shall we?

– On Tuesday, Mike Axisa of RAB looked at A-Rod’s recent slump to see if there was a root cause.  Hopefully the last few games are a sign that he’s coming out of it.

– Jason Cohen of Pinstripe Alley used Luis Severino’s SSS results to show how he’s been better than any other trade option the Yankees could have pursued to help the rotation.

– On Wednesday, David Laurila of FanGraphs interviewed David Cone and got his thoughts on a variety of pitching topics.  Cone is the best of the YES broadcast lineup and a friend of the blog, so naturally this is a must-read for any intelligent Yankee fan.

– On Thursday, William Juliano of The Captain’s Blog used his disastrous June 16th outing as a dividing point for Nathan Eovaldi’s season and broke down the changes and improvements he’s made since then.

Read more

Quick Hit: What’s Up With Brett Gardner?

Brett Gardner went 0-4 at the plate last night, his second straight 0-4 game and the continuation of what has become a prolonged second half slump.  Gardner is hitting just .200/.288/.215 in August after a .247/.369/.341 July that was his worst offensive month to date.  Gardner has a history of wearing down physically and seeing his production level drop in the second half, and Matt called out that drop in production last Monday.  So what’s up with Gardner?  Is he hurt?  Is he tired?  Is he just slumping?

Gardner Spray Chart 4-6 15

Gardner Spray Chart 7-8 15

Those are Gardner’s spray charts from April through June and July through today of this season.  In terms of BIP distribution, there hasn’t been a noticeable difference.  Part of what has made Gardner a better offensive player is his ability to hit to all fields.  His power is almost exclusively to the pull side, but he can go the other way for hits with the best of them.

What really jumps out in comparing the 2 samples is the dramatic drop in pull power from the first 3 months to the last 2.  …

Read more

A Quick About Last Night: This kind of performance isn’t going to win games

Batting .156/.229/.281/.510 with five hits usually doesn’t win ballgames. And it didn’t last night.

The Yankees’ offense was stymied by Josh Tomlin and Bryan Shaw, and mounted a late comeback against Cody Allen in the bottom of the ninth that came up short.

Here’s the spray chart:
export (66)

Here’s the heat map:

Oh, and if you missed it, Joe Girardi was tossed for arguing with umpire Dan Iassogna about his crappy strike zone. It looks like Joe may have had a point:

iassogna zone

These games are the ones they should be winning so hopefully the Yanks can get something going against Carlos Carrasco tonight.

Read more

Game 120 Recap: Indians 3 Yankees 2

Joe Ejection vs CLE

Courtesy of the AP

The Yankees looked like they had things going in the right direction again after a road series victory over the Jays and a sweep of Minnesota to kick off a 10-game homestand.  That forward momentum hit a speed bump last night, as the Indians came into town, got to Ivan Nova early, and held on late for a 1-run win.

Nova was not at his best last night.  Command was the issue again and he didn’t really have any consistent feel for his fastballs or his curveball.  He couldn’t drop his sinker down in the zone for strikes, he was missing off the corners with his 4-seamer, and he threw a lot of flat curveballs that caught too much of the plate.  Cleveland got to him for a run in the 2nd on a leadoff walk and a double, another run in the 3rd on a pair of singles, and another in the 4th on a 2-out walk, single, single rally.  …

Read more

Game 120: Nova vs. Tomlin

Here’s your game thread for this evening. Tonight’s lineups are:

Cleveland Indians New York Yankees
Jason Kipnis, 2B Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Francisco Lindor, SS Brett Gardner, LF
Michael Brantley, DH Alex Rodriguez, DH
Carlos Santana, 1B Brian McCann, C
Lonnie Chisenhall, RF Carlos Beltran, RF
Yan Gomes, C Greg Bird, 1B
Abraham Almonte, CF Chase Headley, 3B
Giovanny Urshela, 3B Didi Gregorius, SS
Jose Ramirez, LF Stephen Drew, 2B
Josh Tomlin, SP Ivan Nova, SP

Enjoy the game!

Read more

Series preview: Four-game set with the Indians starts tonight

Yanks vs CLE

Here’s hoping this series goes better than the last. Courtesy of Getty Images

The Yankees current winning ways started in Cleveland last week. New York has won six of its last seven, and hope to keep adding numbers to that ‘W’ column when the Indians start a four-game series at Yankee Stadium today.

Here’s a glance at each game in the series:

Thursday, August 20: RHP Ivan Nova vs. RHP Josh Tomlin

Nova has shown signs of improvement recently, having one real tough outing in his last five. For many of the Indians batters, this is their first look at Nova. The only Cleveland player with any amount of significant at-bats against him is Mike Aviles, and he has only had eight appearances against Nova.

Tomlin is making just his second start of the season. He’s gone through a series of injuries and rehab assignments in the last couple of years.

Matchup to watch:
Ryan Raburn vs. Nova: 3-for-5, 1.200 OPS.…

Read more

Quick Hit: Continued Appreciation Of The Shreve/Wilson Lefty Tandem

Way back in the middle of June, I wrote a post about the changing of the bullpen hierarchy and heaped a bunch of praise onto Chasen Shreve and Justin Wilson for the work they had done up to that point.  They’ve been rewarded for those strong performances by having their spots in the Joe Girardi Circle of Trust solidified and continuing to get regular high-leverage work.  Shreve and Wilson are probably the 2 and 2A setup relievers behind Dellin Betances, and Shreve turned in a nice 8th inning yesterday in which he struck out Miguel Sano on a nasty changeup.

Since July 1st, Shreve has a 2.65 ERA with 21 strikeouts in 17.0 innings pitched over 17 appearances.  He’s been a tad more homer prone and has walked a few more batters in that timespan, but he’s still got a 2.05/3.75 ERA/FIP split for the season with a 28.8% BB rate.  In 8.2 innings of high leverage work, batters are hitting .111/.207/.115 against him.…

Read more

Thursday Morning Thoughts After a Sweep and Before a Four-Game Series

Song playing when I started the post: “You Kill Me With Silence” by Duran Duran

I feel like I haven’t done one of my infamous random thoughts posts in a while so here it goes…

  • It’s amazing how good the Yankees are against the Twins.
  • I feel slightly bad for Twins fans because it’s as if there’s really no hope for their team to win against the Yankees.
  • Well, okay, not really. I don’t feel bad. I like winning.
  • How about #GREGBIRD‘s performance yesterday?
  • That was awesome.
  • I also love the whole helmet removal thing the Yankees do to each other whenever someone hits a home run.
  • A-Rod did the honors both times for #GREGBIRD during yesterday’s game.
  • I’ve seen Gardner, Gregorius, and McCann do it for A-Rod.
  • Now I’m going to be watching for it all the time.
  • Oh, did you hear that Ervin Santana called Yankee Stadium a joke and said that Bird’s second home run – which was measured at 420 feet – would be a double in other parks?
Read more

The Future Is (Finally) Now For The Yankees

At this time last year, Greg Bird was a few weeks into his promotion from High-A Tampa to Double-A Trenton.  Yesterday he was batting 5th and starting at first base in the Yankees’ Major League lineup, and hitting 2 2-run home runs to propel the Bombers to a series sweep of the Twins.

At this time last year, Luis Severino was also with the Trenton Thunder and was in the process of returning from the DL and making a few short starts before the end of the Minor League season.  This year he’s already a key part of the Major League rotation after getting called up 2 weeks ago, and in his last start on Sunday he mostly held the best offense in baseball down for 6 innings using only his fastball.

For years Yankee fans have called for the team to re-commit to player development and build the franchise from within.  The game has changed since the late 90s-early 2000s heyday of using big free agent signings and blockbuster trade deadline deals to build a winning team, and the Yankees were among the last teams to recognize that and get with the times.  …

Read more