Game Thread: Afternoon Game 4/16/14

You know, just because the Yankees are playing the Chicago Cubs this week that doesn’t mean that the weather had to become Chicago-like. Mother Nature is just being mean now because it’s going to be a downright chilly day and night at Yankee Stadium and I, for one, do not envy anyone who will be out there today – players, fans and media included.

Here are your lineups for the afternoon tilt:

Chicago Cubs New York Yankees
Emilio Bonifacio, 2B Brett Gardner, LF
Justin Ruggiano, CF Carlos Beltran, RF
Anthony Rizzo, 1B Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Nate Schierholtz, RF Alfonso Soriano, DH
Starlin Castro SS Brian McCann, C
Junior Lake, LF Yangervis Solarte, 2B
Luis Valbuena, 3B Kelly Johnson, 1B
Mike Olt, DH Dean Anna, SS
John Baker, C Scott Sizemore, 3B
Jason Hammel, SP Masahiro Tanaka, SP

Some game notes:

  • The Yankees are 7-4 in their last 11 games after dropping their first two games of the season at Houston. And you all were flipping out.
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What Value will Scott Sizemore Provide the Yankees?

It was a guarantee Brian Roberts would go down with an injury at some point this year, and it was a pretty safe assumption to think the same of Mark Teixeira. For these reasons, the Yankees signed 29 year-old Scott Sizemore to a minor-league deal as an insurance policy for their unstable infield.

Stephen Drew, for the second time in the last week, has been ruled out as a possibility (which is a whole separate thing). The Yankees are left with Scott Sizemore.

Sizemore hit .249 in 110 games three seasons ago with both the Athletics and Tigers, sporting a .741 OPS. After a couple of ACL tears, that’s really all we’re left with to make an assessment on Sizemore; that, and his .344/.436/.500 slash line in 10 AAA games this season.

A lot is made of his .221 BA against righties over his career, though his Line Drive% (19%) hovers right around league average against RHP. It’s just something to consider, that he’s still capable of hitting the ball hard off of those types.…

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How good could the 2015 infield really be?

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The objections to signing Stephen Drew (and even to trading for the likes of Nick Franklin) are founded on a fear of precluding future opportunities. This is a legitimate concern. The structure of the CBA has long dictated that franchises spend according to the arbitrary makeup of each free agent class, rather than the makeup of the league as a whole. In recent years, those classes have included fewer elite players and thus teams frequently pay premiums on the most volatile veterans.

Drew now finds himself in a class more or less by himself, courted by a number of contenders which have pressing needs in the infield. It is a formula for inflation and Yankees fans are right to by wary. That said, the objection to Drew must be supported by a preference for reasonable alternatives. Derek Jeter will retire in October…November at the latest. On the current roster, his successor is either an unremarkable 27-year-old rookie or a 31-year-old defensive replacement whose career OPS ranks 1,257th out of the 1,302 players who have at least 2,600 PA during the integration era.…

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This afternoon’s lineup: No Jeter, No Problem?

Here is your Game 1 lineup against the Cubs:

Gardner 7
Beltran 9
Ellsbury 8
Soriano 0
McCann 2
Solarte 4
Johnson 3
Anna 6
Sizemore 5

People are obviously worried about the fact that Derek Jeter is missing another game but it’s a cold day here in NY and there’s some snow on the ground. You don’t want your almost 40-year-old shortstop who is nursing a tight quad to be slipping and sliding around, do ya?

I didn’t think so.

UPDATE 10:55 A.M.: Derek Jeter told the beat writers that he plans on playing in tonight’s game.

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The Farm Report: 4/15/14

Scranton’s doubleheader was postponed due to snow and Trenton’s game was postponed due to wet grounds.

Tampa lost to Clearwater 8-7:
The Yankees drew first blood as Eric Jagielo put a homer over the right field fence in the bottom of the first. They held the lead through the second, but Clearwater took the lead...

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Hal Is Drinking The Small Sample Size Kool-Aid

Hal S 2014

Yesterday’s rainout gave everybody an extra day to process the first 13 games and form some more opinions on what this team needs right now.  Obviously the infield is the biggest area of concern, but not according to Hal Steinbrenner.  Speaking to reporters for what I believe is the first time since the regular season started, Hal shared his thoughts on the Yankees’ current infield situation.  They were unanimously positive:

“I’m pretty content with our infield right now.  I think guys like Anna and Solarte have been pleasant surprises. Kelly Johnson has been good. Derek is healthy. So so far, so good. But it’s early.”

Nothing to really argue with there.  If I wanted to pick nits, I could say that calling Derek Jeter “healthy” when he just had to miss a few games due to a sore quad is a bit of a stretch, but I won’t go there.  Hal’s basically right about everybody he mentioned in that statement.  …

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Rainy Night Open Thread: 4/15/14

This is what happens when a game is rained out:

Stacey posts 80′s music videos about the rain.

If I really wanted to be a smartass, I’d post as many rain videos as possible but I’ll spare you. This time.

So yes, the Yankees and Cubs, as you already know, were rained out tonight and in a somewhat seemingly unprecedented move, the Yankees called the game which was scheduled for 7:05p before noon. They scheduled a separate admission doubleheader tomorrow for 1:05p and 7:05p.

Anyway, this is your open thread. Feel free to discuss whatever your heart desires: baseball, weather, songs, etc.

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How Did The “Pine Tar” Affect Pineda’s Performance?

To most, it was fairly obvious that Michael Pineda had pine tar on his hands during the first 4 innings of his last start against the Red Sox. (Though I do think it could have been BBQ sauce.) Pineda denied it, calling it dirt and sweat, but it’s hard to believe that it took him 4 innings to wipe it off, especially as the slick surface of mud would likely have an adverse effect on his command. The mysterious glob also moved over to his wrist after the NESN broadcast found the substance. The fact that it remained for so long and moved around to a more concealing area makes the situation awfully suspicious.

NESN called Pineda a cheater, however the Red Sox’ coaches and players had no problem with whatever Pineda used. It’s an accepted practice to break this rule, and the Red Sox’ own Clay Buchholz and Jon Lester have repeatedly been accused of using their own gripping agents.…

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Gardner and Ellsbury Living Up To New Contracts

When the Yankees signed Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury to contracts this winter it represented a pretty big change for them and it has paid huge dividends so far.

The Yankees invested big money in two outfielders who are known for their speed, defense and contact hitting. Brian Cashman has never been one to hide his love for “big hairy monsters” who hit home runs, so the fact that he signed two non-power outfielders in one offseason was pretty surprising.

Also, when the Yankees gave Gardner a new four-year, $52 million contract it represented another change in philosophy. The Yankees never gave out contract extensions to players before their current deals expired, and it might have cost them Robinson Cano. Most other MLB teams have been locking up their young players early for years now, while the Yankees were lagging behind, so it was big of them to see what they were doing wrong and adjust.

The Gardner signing was an easy call, and the Yankees got a great value.…

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