Quick Hit: Tanaka Returns To The Mound

Masahiro Tanaka took another important step towards coming back from his UCL tear today when he threw a 25-pitch bullpen session.  It was the first time he stepped back on a mound since his last start.  He had spent the last week or so throwing on flat ground.

The 25 pitches were all fastballs and Tanaka said he wasn’t throwing at 100% effort, but he said he felt good after and “I think we’re heading in the right direction.”  No word yet on when his next session will be, but the plan is for him to throw some offspeed pitches then.  While the timetable for his return is still yet to be determined, both he and the team have said they want him to come back and pitch this season if he can.  So far so good on this rest and rehab plan.

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Game 120: McCarthy vs. Cobb

Oh goody, a series in Tropicana Field.

Here are your lineups:
YANKEES
Brett Gardner LF
Derek Jeter SS
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Carlos Beltran DH
Chase Headley 3B
Stephen Drew 2B
Martin Prado RF
Francisco Cervelli C

RAYS
Desmond Jennings CF
Ben Zobrist LF
Matt Joyce DH
Evan Longoria 3B
James Loney 1B
Logan Forsythe 2B
Yunel Escobar SS
Curt Casali C
Kevin Kiermaier RF

Pitching matchup: Brandon McCarthy vs. Alex Cobb

If the Yankees want to even try and sniff the playoffs, they need to take at least two out of three this weekend.

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Friday Afternoon Linkapalooza: 8/15/14

I’m off to DC until Monday night.  Here’s a quick trip around the week that was in the Yankosphere.

– On Monday, SJK of NoMaas pointed out the piddly low offensive WAR numbers the Yankees continue to churn out while guys like Refsnyder and Roller stay put in Triple-A.

– Chris Mitchell of Pinstripe Pundits ran the comp numbers to see what kind of player Bryan Mitchell could turn into as a Major Leaguer.

– On Tuesday, David Schoenfield of Sweet Spot investigated the possible disappearance of well-rounded outfielders.

– On Wednesday, Daniel Burch of The Greedy Pinstripes criticized Joe’s bullpen management strategy this season, specifically the way it seems to be mirroring the former Joe’s strategy.

– Mike Axisa of RAB mused on the possibility of prospects Greg Bird and Tyler Austin breaking into the show in the near future because of a growing need at first base.

– On Thursday, Andrew Mearns of Pinstripe Alley discussed the differently disappointing endings to Mo and Jeter’s careers.

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If IIATMS were in charge….

This post is corny. This post has been done before. I don’t care. I find stuff like this fun.

Yesterday, Rob Manfred won election by the owners to become Major League Baseball’s next commissioner, replacing long-time commissioner and former used car salesman Bud Selig. Manfred takes over at a strange time in that baseball is still a huge business, but as Craig Calcaterra at Hardball Talk has documented many times in the past, many want to declare baseball dead and bemoan its decline in popularity. For a moment, though, let’s put that nuance aside and ask a silly question: What would the people of IIATMS do if they were placed in the commissioner’s role with autonomous power?

William Tasker, Overlord Jason Rosenberg, and I put forth some ideas. Many of them overlap, but some of them don’t and hopefully this’ll lead to some conversation by you fine folks in the comments. Without further ado, here are some of the ideas we laid forth, starting with the Overlord.…

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The Yankees path to the postseason

Will the Yankees be celebrating a playoff berth at the end of the season? (Photo: AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Will the Yankees be celebrating a playoff berth at the end of the season? (Photo: AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Following the Yankees latest devastating loss on Wednesday night, which dropped them to a season-high eight games back in the AL East and four games back of the second Wild Card position, the likelihood of the team playing baseball in October appears bleak.

Entering Friday, the Yankees have a 8.0 percent chance of making the playoffs according to projections at Fangraphs.com, their lowest playoff odds of the season.

The computers might say the Yankees are a longshot to be playing baseball in October, but in reality a postseason berth for a team in the Yankees current position is not without precedent.

Though Fangraphs does not have historical postseason probabilities, its odds are an adaption of the coolstandings.com playoff odds. Fortunately we do have historical data from that website, so we can look at teams that were in a similar position to the Yankees odds-wise and that eventually made the playoffs.…

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Yankees individual clutch hitting

Yesterday, Katie Sharp had a terrific piece on the historic fail of the Yankees in the clutch hitting department. Like all great writing, the post made me think and it also confirmed (judging by the comments) what most of us have been seeing with our eyes all season. To call it bleak has been an understatement. The first question it raised was: Is this a total team breakdown or just certain segments of the lineup? So I decided to piggyback on Katie’s work and take a look.

Katie focused on three statistics: Runners in Scoring Position (RISP), Runners in Scoring Position with Two Outs (I’ll shorten that to RISP2) and Late and Close. She found the Yankees as a team to not only be way below league average in all three of these categories, but historically bad for Yankee teams since 1973 when this sort of data started to be compiled.

I took a look at the twelve players with more than fifty plate appearances that have only played for the Yankees this season.…

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Thursday Morning Musings: 8/14/14

You know, I always say I miss having YES and access to almost every televised Yankee game out here in Wisconsin.  For the last few seasons, I’ve almost caved and upgraded to a real cable package with MLB Extra Innings to be able to watch more games.  Today I feel really glad that I haven’t done that because I don’t think I would be a very enjoyable person to be around if I had the ability to watch the last 2 season’s worth of games.  Boring and bad baseball.  Not a fun combination.

– I haven’t put on my “bullpen decision overreacting” hat in a while, so I’m going to get a couple in from last night’s game.  First, I didn’t understand the move to pull Pineda.  Yes, I know he gave up a few hard-hit balls in the 5th, I know his velocity was dropping, I know he’s coming back from 4 months off.  I get why the move made sense.  …

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Yankeemetrics: August 11-13 (Orioles)

Michael Pineda pitched well in his first start since April 23, but the Yankees still lost. (Photo: New York Daily News)

Michael Pineda pitched well in his first start since April 23, but the Yankees still lost. (Photo: New York Daily News)

Nightmare in Charm City, Part I
A 3-1 lead is never safe, especially when you are facing the team that leads the majors in home runs and your team leads the league in home runs allowed. That’s the lesson learned after Monday’s 11-3 loss to the Orioles.

Brett Gardner had his usual hot start, hitting a triple in his first at-bat. That was his third triple leading off a game this season, becoming the first Yankee to do that in a single season since Roy White in 1974.

The Yankees scored two runs in the second inning on an error-filled play that simply has to be watched, or heard, to appreciate it. The Orioles ended up committing three errors in the game, which normally would mean a win for the Yankees – except this is not a normal season.

The only other game the Yankees have lost in Baltimore when the Orioles made at least three errors came more than 50 years ago on September 21, 1961.…

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Game 119 Recap: Orioles 5 Yankees 3

For the early part of tonight’s game, the story was Michael Pineda.  He was back, he looked really good, and he was mowing down the Baltimore lineup.  Then the Yankee lineup did its usual disappearing act, Joe made a couple of questionable decisions, and the bullpen gagged away another late lead.

To call Pineda “really good” as I did above was an understatement for the first 4 innings.  Pineda was perfect.  12 up, 12 down, 45 pitches to do so, and 4 strikeouts.  He had everything working.  4-seamers and cutters in the low 90s, lotta early strikes, swing-and-miss slider.  He wasn’t going to his changeup much, but he didn’t really need it to be effective the first 2 times through the order.

The Yankees scored 3 runs in the game and had 6 hits as a team.  2 of the runs and half the hits came in the top of the 3rd, when Stephen Drew doubled with 1 out and Francisco Cervelli smoked a 2-run home run off Chris Tillman on a 3-2 curveball.  …

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