Quick Hit: Is This Going To Be The First Meaningful Yanks-Sox Series In Years?

Tonight will mark the beginning of the end of the regular season first half, and what better way to mark it than with another Yankees-Red Sox series.  These 2 teams haven’t seen each other in a while and they’ve both gone in very different directions since their last encounter.  When the Yankees came to Boston for a weekend set to open May, they swept the Sox out of their own building and sent them below the .500 line for the first time on the year, where they have stayed ever since.

With that backdrop, recent developments for both clubs, and the ever-tight AL East division race looming over everything, this series feels like it has a little more juice to it than recent Yanks-Sox series have had.  At least to me it does.  The Yankees have treaded water in the pool of mediocrity for the last 2 seasons while the Sox have bounced from the bottom of the division in 2012 to the top in 2013 and then back to the bottom last year.  …

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Ellsbury’s Return Already Paying Dividends

Ellsbury vs OAK

Courtesy of the AP

A quick glance at the box scores of Jacoby Ellsbury‘s first 2 games back in the lineup wouldn’t tell you much.  He’s gone 1-4 in both games hitting from his customary leadoff spot, drawn a walk, scored a run, drove in 2, and struck out twice.  His 2-run single yesterday afternoon was the go-ahead hit for the Yankees, sure, but it’s not like he come back and picked up right where he left off, racking up multi-hit and multi-run games while stealing a ton of bases.  He hasn’t even attempted a steal in these first 2 games.

The most important statistic to pull from this minute sample size would actually be the Yankees’ record: 2-0.  They’ve been on the winning side both times with Ellsbury plugged back in at the top of the order, and while the counting statistics might not jump off the screen, Ellsbury’s presence and the value he brings back to the team has been shown in small ways.…

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Game 85 Recap: Yankees 6 Athletics 2

Tanaka vs OAK

A master at his craft. Courtesy of Getty Images

I said I wanted the Yankees to go at least 4-2 in these last two series before the break.  They got halfway there this afternoon with a series-clinching win over the A’s behind a strong start from Masahiro Tanaka and an All Star-caliber performance by 2015 American League All Star Brett Gardner.

Things didn’t look promising for Tanaka early.  He seemed to get rattled by a catcher’s interference call to start the top of the 2nd and gave up a double to Billy Butler in the next at-bat to tie the game at 1.  A walk and another double made it 2-1 Oakland and got the NY tabloid guys’ fingers ready to type out another “the sky is falling!!!” post on Tanaka for tomorrow morning.  The 2-seamer appeared to be the problem pitch, and Tanaka’s command in general seemed a tick off again.

And then he went on to retire the next 18 batters he faced in a row.  …

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Quick Hit: Brett Gardner Named To The AL All-Star Team

This became a strong possibility when Alex Gordon went down with a serious groin strain last night, and it became official today.  Brett Gardner has been named as Gordon’s replacement on the American League All-Star roster.  It’s a well-deserved selection, as Garder was hitting .298/.378/.478 coming into today and has gone 3-4 with a homer in the current game.  It’s also one that’s been a long time coming for a guy who walked on to his college team, was never a highly-touted prospect after being drafted, and worked for years to build himself into an everyday player and a complete, all-around good player.

Congrats, Gardy.  Well done.

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Game 85: Tanaka vs. Chavez

A few quick notes:

Here’s your game thread for this afternoon. Today’s lineups are:

Oakland A’s New York Yankees
Billy Burns, CF Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Stephen Vogt, C Brett Gardner, LF
Ben Zobrist, 2B Mark Teixeira, DH
Josh Reddick, RF Brian McCann, C
Billy Butler, DH Garrett Jones, 1B
Ike Davis, 1B Didi Gregorius, SS
Brett Lawrie, 3B Chris Young, RF
Mark Canha, LF Stephen Drew, 2B
Marcus Semien, SS Cole Figueroa, 3B
Jesse Chavez, SP Masahiro Tanaka, SP

Enjoy the game!

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Mid-Season Returns on Some Former Yankees

Just under two months ago, I checked-in on ex-Yankees that had packed their bags and headed for greener pastures over the winter. Many of the numbers at that point were best viewed with a healthy dose of skepticism, given how long it takes certain metrics to stabilize. At this point, however, we have reached the halfway point between the actual middle of the season (81 games) and the artificial mark (the All-Star break) – and that means that we can begin to trust integral numbers like strikeout, walk, and home run rates.

This time around, I decided to take a gander at a few players that left the Bronx the previous off-season, as well. And, no, I did not do so strictly to make fun of Robinson Cano – that merely played a significant role in my decision.

Robinson Cano, Seattle Mariners
.253/.292/.373, 36 R, 6 HR, 29 RBI, 2 SB, 86 wRC+, 0.4 fWAR (346 PA)*

Ouch. Cano has been awful thus far, with the low baseline of second base production and his still solid defense keeping him (barely) above replacement-level.…

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Game 84 Recap: Yankees 5 A’s 4

Teix HR vs OAK

Insert gluten-free joke here. Courtesy of the AP

From one starter who struggles to get through 6 to another who struggles to get through 6 without getting shelled, the Yankees were on the wrong side of the odds again heading into last night’s game.  But their luck changed quickly after a discouraging start and they held on late to even the series.

That discouragement came thanks to the Ace Formerly Known as CC Sabathia, who gave up 2 runs on 5 hits before he recorded his 5th out of the game.  Almost all the contact generated off him was extremely hard and it took a little luck for him to get out of the 1st inning unscathed.  Roth was out to talk to him and Joe had Bryan Mitchell up in the ‘pen for him in the 2nd, so that’s a sign of how little leash CC has left these days.  Hard to say he hasn’t earned it.

But the big guy managed to get it together long enough to stop the bleeding in the 2nd, and once he did that he actually settled in and gave his team a decent start, by his present day low standards that is.  …

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Game 84: Sabathia vs. Kazmir

Welcome back, Jacoby!

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

Oakland A’s New York Yankees
Billy Burns, CF Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Stephen Vogt, 1B Brett Gardner, LF
Ben Zobrist, 2B Alex Rodriguez, DH
Billy Butler, DH Mark Teixeira, 1B
Brett Lawrie, 3B Chris Young, RF
Jake Smolinski, RF John Ryan Murphy, C
Josh Phegley, C Didi Gregorius, SS
Mark Canha, LF Jose Pirela, 2B
Marcus Semien, SS Gregorio Petit, 3B
Scott Kazmir, SP CC Sabathia, SP

Enjoy the game!

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Roster Moves: Ellsbury And Miller Activated; Flores And Rumbelow Sent Down

Well there you have it.  Not what I called, but Flores goes down instead of Petit and the Yankees will roll with Jones and Young in the outfield while Beltran heals.  Petit gets to stick around while Chase Headley deals with a sore calf, whatever.  The important thing is they get 2 very important roster pieces back tonight just in time to rattle of 5 straight wins heading into the ASB.

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