UPDATED: Tanaka is heading back to NY for an MRI

Say it with me now:

FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUDGE

The news of Masahiro Tanaka‘s MRI first came from George King of the New York Post.

After the game, Tanaka said he “didn’t feel that bad” and thought location was his bigger issue.
“I think a lot of it had to do with command of my pitches,’’ he said. “I feel a lot of my pitches were right down the middle and pretty easy for the batters to hit.’’

 

But on Wednesday there was enough concern for the Yankees to send the 25-year-old for the test.

So now, we will hold our collective breath and wait for news that nothing is wrong and we’re all freaking out for no reason. Right?!

UPDATE 4:10 P.M.: Brian McCann told reporters that Tanaka seemed fine last night and that he (Tanaka) was just having a bad night. It has also been reported that the issue is in Tanaka’s forearm which is better than his elbow or shoulder.…

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The Real Brandon McCarthy

McCarthy large

The newest Yankee makes his debut tonight, with Brandon McCarthy on the mound for his first-ever start in “slimming” pinstripes (yeah, I know its a road game, so he’ll be in road grays, but you get the idea).

A cursory glance at his 2014 season stats makes you wonder why Brian Cashman would ever trade for McCarthy, who is 3-10 with a 5.01 ERA in 18 starts and was leading the NL in hits and earned runs allowed before moving to the junior circuit.

However, a deeper look at his repertoire and peripherals reveal a pitcher that is an upgrade at the back of the rotation with some upside to help the Yankees make a real push for the playoffs this season.

The Good
In general, pitchers can directly impact two things (ignoring defense and ballparks): walks and strikeouts. Just looking at these elements he can control, McCarthy is having one of the best seasons of his career.

McCarthy’s strikeout rate (20.0%) is a career-best, and his walk rate (4.3%) ranks seventh among all MLB pitchers this season.…

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10 Random Thoughts On The Wednesday Before The All-Star Break

1. Happy Anniversary to Derek Jeter who collected hit #3,000 on this day in 2011. I can’t believe it has been three years since that day. I also still can’t believe Jeter hit a home run. Well, no, I can believe it because he’s Derek Jeter and he likes doing things like that.

2. This year’s team is just so boring. Even Masahiro Tanaka is starting to bore me now and that makes me very sad. The All-Star break is coming up at the perfect time because I think we all need a break; players and fans alike.

3. I ordered a bunch of old Baseball Prospectus annuals (2000, 2005, 2006, 2009 and 2010) and it’s interesting to see what the projections were at the time. The 2006 cover is especially hilarious because of the descriptions they have for certain players. For instance, Johnny Damon is “overrated and overpaid” and while his average in 2006 was down from the previous season, he still finished with a .285/.359/.482/.841 line and hit 24 home runs which isn’t bad at all.…

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Tanaka out of whacka

Ken Blaze/USA TODAY Sports

Ken Blaze/USA TODAY Sports

Perhaps our expectations were too high. There were all kinds of predictions about what kind of pitcher Masahiro Tanaka would be once the Yankees pulled the trigger and signed the Japanese ace. Certainly, Brian Cashman tried to temper expectations by insisting he signed a Number 3 starter. But then Tanaka was lights out for his first fourteen starts and was 11-1. And expectations suddenly turned to the belief he would win every time he pitched.

Instead, Tanaka has lost three of his last four and fans are left with an expression of watching a fireworks display with no big finale. Naturally, not all of those losses were his fault. If you give up only two or three runs, you should have a reasonable chance to win and the Yankees’ offense wasn’t there for him. But the last two games have been concerning as the hits are starting to pile up and the strikeouts are trending down.

In Tanaka’s last two starts, he has given up more earned runs than he has recorded strikeouts.…

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Game 89: TANAK! v. Bauer

Random fact of the day:

There are two teams with a .500 or better record and a negative run differential – the Pittsburgh Pirates (47-42, -3) and, of course, the Yankees (45-43, -30). However, there are no teams at or below .500 and a positive run differential; the Blue Jays, at 47-44 (+23) come the closest.

New York Yankees Cleveland Indians
Brett Gardner, LF Jason Kipnis, 2B
Derek Jeter, SS Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF Michael Brantley, CF
Mark Teixeira, DH Carlos Santana, DH
Brian McCann, C Lonnie Chisenhall, 3B
Brian Roberts, 2B Nick Swisher, 1B
Ichiro Suzuki, RF David Murphy, RF
Kelly Johnson, 1B Yan Gomes, C
Zelous Wheeler, 3B Chris Dickerson, LF
Masahiro Tanaka, SP Trevor Bauer, SP
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Tuesday Afternoon Open Thread: 7/8/14

Guess what happened 14 years ago today?

The Yankees swept a doubleheader against the Mets. But that wasn’t the big story. The Yankees won both games 4-2. But that wasn’t the big story. Dwight Gooden picked up a win for the Yankees in the day game of the twin bill. But that wasn’t the big story. The fact that it was a split venue doubleheader also wasn’t the big story.

This was:

I was at that game, sitting in my old Sunday seats at the old Stadium – it was a makeup game from a previous rainout (6/11/00). As soon as the ball hit Piazza, my mother, who was sitting to my left, put her head into my shoulder and said, “Oh my God, is he moving?” She couldn’t look and for a few scary moments, we all thought the worst. You could hear a pin drop in the Stadium. Thankfully, Piazza was alive, he left the game and a new “rivalry” was born.…

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About Last Night: Shane Greene

So Shane Greene did pretty well last night. He lasted six innings, gave up two runs on four hits, struck out two and didn’t walk a batter.

Here’s his hit chart with outs included. He induced a lot of ground balls:

hit-chart (49)

He made one mistake in the bottom of the fifth inning, giving up a home run to Nick Swisher but all in all, it was a nice first start for Greene who picked up his first MLB win.

Here’s the Swisher home run which came on an 89 mph slider over the plate:

atbat-summary (67)

So far this season, between last night’s start and his appearance in the Yankees’ 14-5 win against the Red Sox on 4/24, Greene has thrown 110 pitches; 66 fastballs, 1 changeup, 31 sliders and 12 cutters. He gave up one hit on his slider – the home run to Swisher – and gave up two hits on the fastball and one on the cutter.

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Power-Hitting Brett Gardner

Brett Gardner home run

One of the most popular nicknames for Brett Gardner is GGBG — Gritty Gutty Brett Gardner. Though Gardner still embodies those characteristics, he’s also added another tool to his game this season…

The Gritty Gutty Power Hitting Brett Gardner.

With nearly half of the season remaining, Gardner has already matched his career-best home run total (set last year), and is on pace for the highest slugging percentage and isolated power marks of his major-league career.

Let’s take a deeper look at how Gardner has transformed himself from a slap-hitting, bottom-of-the-order player to a top-of-the-lineup hitter with modest pop and pull-side power.

A More Powerful Gardner
One reason to be optimistic that his power surge is sustainable is the fact that Gardner is simply hitting the ball harder and farther this season than ever before.

Inside Edge tracks every at-bat of every game and categorizes each ball in play as “hard-hit”, “medium-hit” or “soft-hit”. The video trackers are looking for “beneficial trajectory and velocity and contact with the sweet spot of the bat” to determine whether the ball was hit hard or softly.…

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Game 88: The Curious Case of Brian Roberts

This season, Brian Roberts has walked in 8.7% of his plate appearances, which is quite good – league-average, for reference, is 7.9%. The majority of his offensive value is derived from his ability to take a walk, in fact, as his .315 OBP is almost perfectly league-average. However, it seems as though Roberts has changed his approach at the plate a bit over the past few weeks, as he has not taken a walk in his last 14 games … over which time he is batting .293/.293/.534 (including two of his four home runs this season).

Is it safe to call it a change in approach, though? Surprisingly, yes. Or, maybe, at least. Over his first 62 games, Roberts swung at 28.4% of pitches out of the zone, 73.1% of pitches in the zone, and 48.9% of pitches overall. Since then, those percentages are 36.6%, 75.7%, and 55.4%, respectively.

Of course, this could be small sample size noise – and it probably is.…

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