The Potential Barry Bonds Effect On A-Rod’s Hot Start

A-Rod HR vs TB

Gone. Courtesy of Getty Images

When it came out in late January that Alex Rodriguez had been working out with Barry Bonds in California in preparation for his return, the report was met with a reaction of mostly bad steroid jokes and indifference from writers and fans alike.  When Bonds piped up recently in support of A-Rod, saying that MLB and its fans should celebrate him reaching and passing Willie Mays‘ mark of 660 home runs, that story was met with a similar reaction.  Today, coming off a red hot week that has earned him a boatload of mostly begrudging praise and may earn him AL Player of the Week honors, it may be time to stop ignoring the A-Rod-Bonds offseason connection.

After yesterday afternoon’s series finale in Tampa, A-Rod is hitting a robust .316/.447/.711 in 47 plate appearances.  He ranks inside the top 10 in MLB in R (10), HR (4), RBI (11), and SLG, and inside the top 5 in BB rate (19.1%) and ISO (.395).  …

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AL East Looks As Expected Thus Far

ALEastStandings420

The 2015 AL East was expected to be totally up for grabs and that’s the way it has looked for the first two weeks of the season.  Obviously with only two weeks gone by there will not be a ton of separation anywhere, but parity has ruled so far in the AL East with everybody divided by only 1.5 games between 7-5 and 6-7. With the Yankees playing a series against everyone in the division to start off the year it has given us a nice look at their division foes.

The best thing the Yankees have going for them is that they clearly have the best pitching in this division and it’s not even very close. The Orioles rank 20th in MLB in team ERA (4.73) and 21st in FIP (4.07), the Red Sox rank 26th in ERA (4.73) and 19th in FIP (3.99), the Rays rank 23rd in ERA (4.56) and 22nd in FIP (4.10) and the Blue Jays rank last in ERA (4.50) and last in FIP (5.06).…

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The Farm Report: 4/20/15

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre:
The RailRiders started the week off in rough form, losing four straight games, including a three-game sweep by Rochester. After dropping a game to Syracuse, however, Scranton came back and won the last three games of the week, putting them at 5-6 so far this season. Pawtucket is off to a strong start and leads the IL North division, while Scranton sits three games back.

Bryan Mitchell had a good week, throwing 3.2 innings on Monday and allowing just one run on five hits and two walks. Even though he only threw 3.2 innings, Mitchell tossed 87 pitches, thanks in part to his 7 strikeouts. On Sunday, not only did Mitchell turn 24, but he put together another stellar outing. He threw seven innings and allowed just one run on three hits and three walks, while striking out four. Jacob Lindgren picked up his second save of the season, throwing two hitless innings, walking one and striking out three.

Slade Heathcott hit his first Triple-A homer on Friday and followed it with a tenth inning sac fly that proved to be the game winner for the RailRiders.…

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Random thoughts between a series sweep and a four gamer in Detroit

Happy Monday morning! (Okay I really started writing this at 10:18 p.m. Sunday night because I knew I wouldn’t be able to get up early to write. Just play along.) It’s actually a much better morning now that the Yankees are heading into Detroit for a four-game series 6-6 instead of 3-9.

So this weekend was fun for a change. I usually dread series down in Tampa but this weekend’s was a pleasant surprise. We had A-Rod putting on an offense show on Friday night, #TANAK putting on a pitching clinic on Saturday and yesterday, the offense had the leading man on base seven out of nine innings. Good stuff.

Let’s hope they keep this up or else the series in Detroit will turn into a hellish ordeal. One good thing, and I cannot believe I’m saying this, is that they’re not facing former teammate Shane Greene. Greene has been really good so far this season, pitching to the tune of a 0.39 ERA in three games (23 innings).…

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Game 12 Recap: Yankees 5 Rays 3

Pineda vs TB

Not the best Big Mike we’ve ever seen, but good enough to win. Courtesy of the AP

The Yankees locked up their first series win of 2015 with the shutout-blowout (showout?) victory over the Rays on Saturday night.  They had a chance to lock up their first sweep of the young season and get themselves back up to .500 this afternoon.  Michael Pineda got the ball for the occasion, hoping to follow the path Masahiro Tanaka set last night with his dominant outing.

It didn’t get off the kind of start Pineda or Yankee fans were hoping for.  He walked the first batter of the 1st inning and gave up a 2-run home run to the next one, Steven Souza, to put the Yanks in a quick hole.  But he worked out of the inning without further damage, thanks in part to another gunned down base stealer by John Ryn Murphy, and settled down through the 4th.  He gave up some hits here and there, but mostly kept the Tampa lineup at bay.  …

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Game 12: Pineda vs. Andriese

Here are today’s lineups:

New York Yankees Tampa Bay Rays
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF David DeJesus, DH
Brett Gardner, LF Steven Souza, RF
Alex Rodriguez, DH Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
Mark Teixeira, 1B Evan Longoria, 3B
Chase Headley, 3B Desmond Jennings, CF
Stephen Drew, 2B Allan Dykstra, 1B
Garrett Jones, RF Brandon Guyer, LF
John Ryan Murphy, C Tim Beckham, 2B
Didi Gregorius, SS Rene Rivera, C
Michael Pineda, SP Matt Andriese, SP

Enjoy the game!

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About Last Night: Masahiro Tanaka

As Brad said in his recap of last night’s game, Masahiro Tanaka‘s first two starts were not great. Tanaka needed to have a good performance against the Rays in Tampa, 1) to quiet the whispers abut his elbow, and 2) to keep the Yankees on a bit of a roll.

Thankfully, he succeeded. He looked like the Tanaka of the first half of 2014, seemingly having no issues with the Rays’ lineup whatsoever. He lasted seven innings, gave up only two hits, didn’t walk a batter and struck out eight. He also lowered his season ERA from 7.00 to 3.94 with last night’s outing.

According to Brooks Baseball PITCH f/x, Tanaka favorited his four seam fastball – throwing 28 of them. He also reached nearly 94 m.p.h. (93.9) with that pitch while averaging 91.7.

Here’s what his velocity overall looked like last night:

Courtesy of Brooks Baseball

Courtesy of Brooks Baseball

As you can see, the last pitch of his outing was one of the fastest he threw on the night.…

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Game 11 Quick Recap: NYY 9 TB 0

Young GS vs TB

Hold that, Tampa Bay. Courtesy of the AP

Jake Odorizzi looked really good in his first 2 starts of the season.  Masahiro Tanaka not so much.  Based on recent history, you could guess how this game was going to go last night, but as the old saying goes, that’s why they play the game.

Tanaka was masterful last night.  Absolutely spectacular.  He gave up a base hit to Tampa leadoff hitter David DeJesus to start the bottom of the 1st, then proceeded to sit down the next 15 batters he faced.  He didn’t walk a batter, he struck out 6 in that stretch, and when he did give up his second and final hit of the night (a double to lead off the bottom of the 6th), he erased it with 2 more strikeouts.  He was working his fastball more, throwing it a bit harder than he did in his first 2 starts, and he looked much more like the Tanaka that we saw in the first half of last season.…

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Game 11: Tanaka vs Odorizzi

Happy #TANAK day!

Here are your lineups:

YANKEES
1. Jacoby Ellsbury (L) CF
2. Brett Gardner (L) LF
3. Alex Rodriguez (R) DH
4. Mark Teixeira (S) 1B
5. Brian McCann (L) C
6. Chris Young (R) RF
7. Chase Headley (S) 3B
8. Stephen Drew (L) SS
9. Gregorio Petit (R) 2B

RAYS
1. David DeJesus (L) DH
2. Steven Souza Jr. (R) RF
3. Asdrubal Cabrera (S) SS
4. Evan Longoria (R) 3B
5. Desmond Jennings (R) CF
6. Allan Dykstra (L) 1B
7. Logan Forsythe (R) 2B
8. Brandon Guyer (R) LF
9. Rene Rivera (R) C

Enjoy!

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