Game 17: Smyly vs. Pineda

Tampa Bay Rays New York Yankees
Logan Forsythe, DH Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Logan Morrison, 1B Brett Gardner, LF
Evan Longoria, 3B Carlos Beltran, RF
Corey Dickerson, LF Mark Teixeira, 1B
Steve Pearce, 2B Alex Rodriguez, DH
Brad Miller, SS Brian McCann, C
Steven Souza Jr., RF Chase Headley, 3B
Kevin Kiermaier, CF Starlin Castro, 2B
Curt Casali, C Didi Gregorius, SS
Drew Smyly, SP Michael Pineda, SP

Continue reading Game 17: Smyly vs. Pineda

Game 16: Snell vs. Tanaka

Tampa Bay Rays New York Yankees
Logan Forsythe, 2B Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Logan Morrison, 1B Brett Gardner, LF
Evan Longoria, DH Carlos Beltran, RF
Corey Dickerson, RF Mark Teixeira, 1B
Desmond Jennings, LF Alex Rodriguez, DH
Brad Miller, SS Brian McCann, C
Steve Pearce, 3B Starlin Castro, 2B
Kevin Kiermaier, CF Chase Headley, 3B
Hank Conger, C Didi Gregorius, SS
Blake Snell, SP Masahiro Tanaka, SP

Continue reading Game 16: Snell vs. Tanaka

Quick Hit: Pinder Diagnosed With UCL Tear

Brendan Kuty with the scoop on the latest injury to afflict the Yankee bullpen.  Branden Pinder, who was placed on the 15-day DL yesterday with an elbow strain, has been diagnosed with a UCL tear in his pitching elbow.  Surgery is still up in the air, so this tear might not be as serious as the injury that ended Nick Rumbelow’s season, but it’s going to keep him out of action for some time.

Pinder was replaced on the active roster by Nick Goody yesterday, and now with he and Rumbelow on the shelf with Bryan Mitchell, relief depth is starting to become an area of concern for the Yankees.  Luis Cessa has been sent back down to Triple-A to work as a starter, Aroldis Chapman is still weeks away from returning, and Johnny Barbato recently experienced his first rough outing.  The SWB Shuttle is short a few bodies and possibly looking for new passengers.

It doesn’t sound promising for Pinder, but hopefully this is a minor tear and something he can return from with the Tanaka rest-and-rehab method.

Continue reading Quick Hit: Pinder Diagnosed With UCL Tear

Game 15 Quick Recap: NYY 6 TB 3

Hey, a win! I didn’t see a single pitch of this one and I’m taking safety training classes in the office on a Saturday morning.  We’re doing bullet points:

CC Sabathia walked the tightrope in every one of his 4.2 innings, and somehow he managed to escape it with only 3 runs against him.  When he’s not on his game, you have no choice but to take that from him.

– Very nice job backing CC up by Ivan Nova, who tossed 2.1 perfect innings to bridge the gap to the back end of the bullpen and gave the offense a chance to come back.

– That comeback was sparked by a Jacoby Ellsbury steal of home in the bottom of the 5th to tie the game at 3.  It was an incredibly ballsy play on his part, stealing home in a full count with 2 outs, and he pulled it off.  This after the diving catch the other night and he went 2-3 with a double and 2 RBI in relief of Aaron Hicks.  More, please.

– Hicks left the game after injuring his shoulder diving to make a catch.  Doesn’t sound serious, but he might get a day or 2 off.

Brian McCann was the other big offensive star.  He went 2-3 with a 2-run homer, 2 R scored, and 3 RBI.  Mark Teixeira also had 3 hits and scored 2 runs.

– 6 up, 6 down for Millances.  5 strikeouts. Continue reading Game 15 Quick Recap: NYY 6 TB 3

Game 15: Moore vs. Sabathia

Tampa Bay Rays New York Yankees
Logan Forsythe, 2B Brett Gardner, LF
Brandon Guyer, CF Starlin Castro, 2B
Evan Longoria, 3B Carlos Beltran, RF
Corey Dickerson, DH Mark Teixeira, 1B
Desmond Jennings, LF Alex Rodriguez, DH
Steve Pearce, 1B Brian McCann, C
Steven Souza Jr., RF Chase Headley, 3B
Tim Beckham, SS Aaron Hicks, CF
Curt Casali, C Didi Gregorius, SS
Matt Moore, SP CC Sabathia, SP

Continue reading Game 15: Moore vs. Sabathia

Kneejerk Foment

[caption id="attachment_81089" align="aligncenter" width="525"]A-Rod K vs OAK When you strike out with the bases loaded during a brutal RISP slump. Courtesy of the AP[/caption]

I fully realize that I am falling in Wallchand territory here but I can feel the angst and brine rising within me. You have been watching these games along with me, right? This version of the New York Yankees has been such a drag to watch. I know Stacey wasn’t as impressed as I was, but Michael Kay’s “Groundhog Day” line the other night just felt so right. Each game has bled into the next with the same ineptitude and similar losses. It is like going off Broadway and watching the same bad production for fourteen straight days.

My rational mind is shouting to my emotional Italian side chiding the latter with reminders of sample size and season length. In the immortal words of Frank Sinatra, my heart ain’t gonna buy it. My inner Yankee is foaming at the mouth.

This is what my mind has watched thus far this season. I qualify this statement knowing full well that observations are faulty and I will look at some stats a little later:

  • It seems that every fat mistake pitch thrown by a Yankee pitcher gets hammered while the Yankees take such pitches for strikes when they are batting.
  • You can squeeze more appeal from our front-running presidential candidates easier than the Yankees can squeeze runs out of a potential rally.
  • I wish Aaron Hicks could hit so he could play the field every day.
  • How long do we wait out Alex Rodriguez before doing the Soriano-Jones?
  • The Yankees’ offense is the easiest team to defense in the history of baseball.
  • Why does Mark Teixeira have to stink every April?
  • How many of you are like me and start to get afraid every time a Yankee starting pitcher starts a game with two or three scoreless innings?
  • I would take four errors a week from Rob Refsnyder over watching Chase Headley every night
  • Austin Romine is no John Ryan Murphy. But he is like a J.R. Murphy. Maybe he should insist on being called, “Austin Allen Romine.”

Okay, somehow, I need to pull this rant out of the gutter of my mind and put some data in here to at least make it sound respectable. I know full well that this is a lost cause because any stats I cull will be cherry picking and a rant is what this is and there seems to be no turning back. But here goes a few cherry picks to at least make it look like I’m trying. Continue reading Kneejerk Foment

The IIATMS Mailbag, Volume 1

On Tuesday afternoon, I made a call to arms as a means to both encourage discussion, and to ensure that I am writing about something that the readers are interested in. And the fact that our first crack at this exercise resulted in ten-ish (mostly) quality questions is simply gravy. Let’s jump right in, shall we?

Courtesy of Jay Robertson:

Do you really believe the Yankees can get to the playoffs with their current starting rotation; if not, do you think the team will suck it up and stand pat; if they do get a starter – who would they get, and at what cost?

Heading into last night’s action (thirteen starts), the Yankees rotation had the following line:

73.2 IP, 5.01 ERA, 3.70 FIP, 8.7 K/9, 2.2 BB/9, 51.6 GB%, .338 BABIP

That’s the second best GB% in baseball, the third best BB/9, the tenth best K/9, and …the fifth worst ERA. There is some bad luck at play, as evidenced by the very high BABIP (the third worst in the Majors) and the large gap between the team’s ERA and FIP (the fourth highest differential). They’re middle-of-the-pack in metrics like HR/9, hard-hit percentage, and HR/FB, which somewhat belies these discrepancies, but it’s also so early that most if not all of these numbers should be taken with a grain of salt.

Why bring them up, then? Because they illustrate just how weird baseball is.

All that being said, I don’t think that this is the rotation of a playoff team, unless said playoff team is an offensive juggernaut. The Yankees don’t appear to have the same sort of ‘oomph’ that they had last season (again, though, small sample size), and I’m skeptical that the bullpen can make up for the rotation’s issues. There has been a great deal of discussion about Sabathia being toast, Pineda throwing too many strikes, Eovaldi being style over substance, Tanaka’s elbow, and Severino’s inexperience … and, even if most of that is unnecessary handwringing, we watch much of this story unfold last season.

The Yankees need Tanaka to continue to pitch like a top of the rotation starter, and at least two of the other guys to step-up and perform as competent mid-rotation starters. If that can be done, they could certainly make a push. I don’t know if a trade is really out there at this point (the pending free agent class stinks), but I do think that James Kaprielian could be the ace in the hole, a la Severino just last season.

Courtesy of James Dogg:

Cashman comes back from lunch and he has two messages-

1. Colorado Rockies called and they offer Nolan Arenado and Carlos Gonzalez for Nova, Gary Sanchez, and Aaron Judge.

2. Florida Marlins called they offer Jose Fernandez, Jarred Cosart, and Justin Bour for the same 3 plus Arod.

Which, if either, should Cashman do, and which will be a better deal come say October of 2017.

Gonzalez is only under contract through the end of next season, and I don’t really see a spot for him on the roster right now – and I’m not sure that I’d want to make room, either. He’s a career .257/.312/.444 (102 wRC+) hitter on the road, and he has a lengthy history of injury problems. If Ellsbury wasn’t around, I may be spinning a different tale. But as it stands, I don’t want Gonzalez.

I’m a huge fan of Arenado, and he had no real home/away split last season, with a 120 wRC+ in Coors and a 119 mark on the road. He just turned 25, and he’s a potential franchise player – the greatest issue I see is that he doesn’t have great plate discipline, and his high-contact approach can be a blessing and a curse. And I think Headley would be much easier to move than Ellsbury (and such a move would be much more likely).

With the Marlins deal, I similarly don’t care all that much about Cosart or Bour (though, I suppose Bour would replace Rodriguez as the DH). Fernandez is obviously incredible (both as a talent and a personality), and he won’t be 24 until this Summer. Having a Tommy John Surgery on his resume is a bit disconcerting, though, and there has been a great deal of talk regarding his mechanics leading to further injury.

All that being said … I think the Marlins deal makes more sense right now. Having to make additional moves can cause several issues, and I don’t think that it would look great for the Yankees to have to bench or move at least one of Headley, Ellsbury, and Gardner (unless CarGo went to the bench). That’s my concern with the Rockies deal. That, and the fact that I’m always at least a bit skeptical of Coors guys. Under the gun, though, I’d probably do both deals – Arenado and Fernandez are young, legitimate studs.

As for the end of 2017, I’m not sure which would look better. Probably the Marlins deal, at least artificially, as Judge and Sanchez will look a hell of a lot better hitting in Coors…

Courtesy of yankeerudy:

What’s the over-under on Big Papi HR this season?

ZiPS had him at 30 this season – a mark that he has reached in each of the last three seasons. I’d probably set the over/under right around there; say, 30.5? And I’d take the over. As much as I hate to say it, Ortiz is still an incredible hitter.

Courtesy of anonymous:

Are you a closet Red Sox fan?

I’m not sure that I’ve ever been accused of being a closeted fan of any team, let alone the Red Sox. I try to be as unbiased as possible when writing about or discussing baseball … so much so that I don’t know if this is a joke that I’m humoring, or an actual accusation. The answer is no, though. I like several of their young players and prospects, but I could never root for that organization.

I admittedly have soft spots for the Rays and Mets, though. The former because of how much I admire the organization’s strategies, and the latter because much of my family and friends are Mets fans. I never root for either over the Yankees, though.

Courtesy of Longtimefan:

Realistically can we look forward to getting to the playoffs and if so going deeper than last season with primarily the same offense that disappeared last September?

If they make it to the Wild Card game again, anything can happen – particularly if Tanaka is on. Winning that game is technically getting deeper in the playoffs, right?

I don’t think that that’s the spirit of your question, though. I’ve worried about the team as a whole since the off-season, as I always kind of felt that the offense peaked last season, even with some of the injuries and underperformance. I’m trying to avoid confirmation bias with the early season struggles, but their offense hasn’t changed my mind thus far.

Again, though, it’s so early in the season that we’re still a couple of weeks from worrying too much (barring a significant injury, of course).

Another from James Dogg:

Will Ellsbury be worth $21 mil in 2020?

or

Will Ellsbury’s production in 2020 be more worth $21 mil than Arod ‘s will be worth $21 mil this year? 2017?

The answer to both may end up being yes as salaries escalate, and the value of a win increases. And that’s the only way I see the answer to the first question being yes.

Last night’s 3-for-5 performance notwithstanding, Ellsbury hasn’t looked like a legitimate hitter since last May. I know that he was hurt at that time, but his injury history is so extensive that I have to wonder if the cumulative effects are simply too much for him to completely recover from. The fact that his defense and base-running appear to be slipping don’t help matters, either.

That being said, I don’t know what to make of Rodriguez’s value. FanGraphs pegged last season’s performance at $21.4 MM, so he just made it. I’m not sure if that happens again, considering his late Summer swoon, early season issues, and age. I’d rather have Rodriguez’s next two years than Ellsbury’s next five, though.

Courtesy of Nate the Great:

Is there anything to Luis Severino’s early struggles?

Most of the discussion about Severino’s flaws hinges on mechanics and size. His delivery is not the most efficient, and he’s on the smaller side for a power-pitcher. That being said, the greatest issue with his mechanics is not the injury risk – it’s the fact that his command has been consistently inconsistent as a result. His release and landing points often shift dramatically over the course of the game, and that oftentimes results in him leaving the pitch up and over the plate (which happened last night, resulting in a home run by Mark Canha).

To be fair, though, I don’t think that there’s anything new to worry about. The defense torpedoed his efforts in his prior start, and last night he was fine but for one pitch. I’m not too concernced.

Courtesy of Allen:

Can we get a podcast soon?

I shall do my best to get one in the works. We have plenty to talk about, after all.
Continue reading The IIATMS Mailbag, Volume 1

Game 14 Quick Recap: OAK 7 NYY 3

Let’s see, how does this go again… ?

Garbage Fire

There we go.  Nailed it.  A+ recap.

Game Notes:

– Severino was good enough to win.  6 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 4 K.  Best start of the year for him.

– Not a banner day for the bullpen B-team.  3 IP, 3 H, 3 BB, 5 ER.  On the plus side, one day closer to Chapman returning.

– Really rough go for Chasen Shreve, who gave up 2 home runs on the first 2 pitches he threw.  Gotta shake that one off.

– Jacoby Ellsbury went 3-5 and made a tremendous diving catch in the right-center field gap in the 1st inning to save a run.

– Solid game for Aaron Hicks too.  He drove in the first Yankee run with a bloop single and took a walk in 3 plate appearances, and he also made a great leaping catch into the left field foul line wall and threw another runner out on the basepaths.  Not hard to see the skills that drew Cashman to him.  Just need him to start hitting. Continue reading Game 14 Quick Recap: OAK 7 NYY 3

Game 14: Hill vs. Severino

Oakland A’s New York Yankees
Billy Burns, CF Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Mark Canha, 1B Starlin Castro, 2B
Josh Reddick, RF Carlos Beltran, RF
Jed Lowrie, 2B Mark Teixeira, 1B
Stephen Vogt, C Alex Rodriguez, DH
Chris Coghlan, 3B Chase Headley, 3B
Khris Davis, DH Aaron Hicks, LF
Coco Crisp, LF Austin Romine, C
Marcus Semien, SS Ronald Torreyes, SS
Rich Hill, SP Luis Severino, SP

Continue reading Game 14: Hill vs. Severino