Game 12 Quick Recap: OAK 3 NYY 2 (11 Innings)

[caption id="attachment_81059" align="aligncenter" width="525"]Gardner vs OAK 16 Brett Gardner notices a black widow spider near home plate and removes his batting helmet to crush it. Courtesy of the AP[/caption]

I’m giving this game the quick treatment because it doesn’t really need or deserve any in-depth commentary.  We’ve seen this game time and time again over the last few years.  Blown leads, blown chances, and an offense that completely disappears from the face of the earth and leaves the bullpen hanging in the late innings.  The Yankees stink right now.  That is a fact.

They jumped out to an early lead in the 1st on a 2-out rally started by a Carlos Beltran double and completed by an Alex Rodriguez RBI base hit.  Of course Michael Pineda gave that right back in the top of the 2nd on a trio of singles.  Two of them were ground balls against the shift, which is not Big Mike’s fault, but you can’t be getting behind 3-0 to a guy and forced to throw a meatball strike in that situation.

The Yanks regained the lead in the 5th when Brett Gardner walked, moved to third base on Starlin Castro‘s double, and scored on a Beltran sac fly. Aaaaand then Pineda gave that lead right back by giving up a leadoff triple to Danny Valencia in the 6th and watching him score on a GB single.  Gardner gave a heck of an effort but that ball was falling in for a triple regardless.  That’s on Mike.

After that the offense went in the toilet.  They wasted 2 baserunners in the bottom of the 6th and went down in order in the 7th, 8th, 10th, and 11th.  Chase Headley singled to start a rally in the bottom of the 9th, but pinch hitter Jacoby Ellsbury was thrown out trying to steal to snuff it out.  The bullpen hosses did all they could to extend the game, but Johnny Barbato got touched up for a couple hits in his second inning of work in the top of the 11th and the deal was sealed. Continue reading Game 12 Quick Recap: OAK 3 NYY 2 (11 Innings)

Game 12: Surkamp vs. Pineda

Oakland A’s New York Yankees
Billy Burns, CF Brett Gardner, LF
Chris Coghlan, LF Starlin Castro, 2B
Josh Reddick, RF Carlos Beltran, RF
Danny Valencia, 3B Mark Teixeira, 1B
Stephen Vogt, C Alex Rodriguez, DH
Jed Lowrie, 2B Brian McCann, C
Khris Davis, DH Aaron Hicks, CF
Yonder Alonso, 1B Chase Headley, 3B
Marcus Semien, SS Didi Gregorius, SS
Eric Surkamp, SP Michael Pineda, SP

Continue reading Game 12: Surkamp vs. Pineda

Quick Hit: Calling All Questions

Less than 7% of the Yankees 2016 is in the books.

Let that sink in for a moment. In this era of hot takes (or #hottakes), instant gratification, and inane (or insane) editorials by Randy Levine, we all want to draw conclusions from the precious little information that we have in front of us. Is Jacoby Ellsbury – he of the .240/.296/.337 (74 wRC+) line since September of 2014 – toast? Is Deldrew Millances a force for fascism in Major League Baseball? Should the rotation’s credo be ‘Masahiro Tanaka, and pray for four days of rain?’ Could Starlin Castro really be one of the five-best second basemen in baseball?

Some of these questions are answerable, based largely on the same information that we had to work with before the season actually began. Eleven baseball games – again, less than 7% of the season – doesn’t offer a whole lot of information, after all. But where’s the fun in that?

With all that being said, I submit the following to you, the readers: ask me whatever question(s) your heart may desire about the Yankees or baseball on the whole. Nothing is too silly or too complex. You may ask it right here in the comments, or on Twitter.

I shall do my best to answer every question with limited sarcasm. Unlike most ‘all questions answered’ posts, however, I will not be responding in the comments or on Twitter. Instead, I will make a longer post right here on Friday.

You may fire when ready. Continue reading Quick Hit: Calling All Questions

Tuesday Morning Links: 4/19/16

Remember when I said I was changing up the regular Friday links routine and going for 2 or 3 mini links posts per week?  Yeah, well I guess I’m a dirty, rotten liar.  I think this is the 3rd or 4th week in a row that I’ve done links on Tuesday.  Whatever.  I’m like the Yankee front office.  The actions never seem to match the words, gotta keep people on their toes.  Here they are:

– Last Thursday, Stacey analyzed Nathan Eovaldi’s entire career to date over at BP Bronx to see if we can reasonably expect his results to ever improve enough to match his stuff.

– Chad Jennings discussed the Yankees’ early problems with bench production and hitting left-handed pitching.  Good to know some things never change.

– Chris Mitchell of FanGraphs evaluated Ronald Torreyes’ strange tool makeup and MLB potential with his KATOH system.

– On Friday, Alphonso of It Is High… worried that this year is already shaping up to be the same as last year.  Don’t lose that confidence!

– On Saturday, Matt Provenzano of Pinstripe Alley took a look at Johnny Barbato’s stuff through the PITCHf/x microscope to show how it’s plenty good enough to stick in the show.

– On Sunday, Matt Imbrogno of RAB shone the spotlight on A-Rod’s early struggles against the fastball.  This is concerning only because we saw the exact opposite early on last year.

– On Monday, William Juliano of The Captain’s Blog investigated the trend of American League bullpens getting deeper and better and the impact that may be having on offensive production in the league. Continue reading Tuesday Morning Links: 4/19/16

About Last Night: Betances and Miller. Holy s%^&!

An extensive number of articles have been written about the construction of the New York Yankees’ bullpen leading into the season and in most of them, they’ve made mention of the appearance of the ternary of Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller, and Aroldis Chapman and how it would mean bad things for opposing batters. Yesterday afternoon against the Seattle Mariners, Yankee fans finally saw what two of the three ternary members are capable of when the Yankees’ starter lasts through the seventh and has handed them a lead going into the eighth inning. To say it was incredible would almost be an Continue reading About Last Night: Betances and Miller. Holy s%^&!

Monday Morning Musings: 4/18/16

Two weeks down, many more to go.  The Yankees snapped their pesky losing streak yesterday with a 1-run win over the Mariners.  They’ve got another off-day today before welcoming the A’s and Rays to town for the rest of this week.  6 games this week, all at home.  That’s a helluva good opportunity to turn this recent offensive slump around and get back over .500.  Here are some thoughts on the happenings over the first 2 weeks:

– It was good to see Alex Rodriguez get off the schneid with his 2-run homer to left to get the scoring started yesterday.  It was even better to see him do it against a fastball, which has given him plenty of problems over the first 10 games.  According to Brooks Baseball, A-Rod has seen 44 4-seam fastballs so far and has swung and missed at over 20% of them.  He’s also swung and missed at over 13% of the 2-seamers he’s seen, so clearly the heat is giving him some trouble.

Last year he surprised a lot of people by showing good bat speed and squaring up a lot of good fastballs.  This year it’s been the exact opposite.  Iwakuma doesn’t exactly throw smoke either, so I’d still like to see A-Rod do some damage against something moving 94, 95, 96 like he did so often last season.  Hopefully he can use yesterday as a springboard to correct whatever’s been causing the early fastball struggles.

– Speaking of fastballs, it was better than good to see the return of Masahiro Tanaka‘s FB velocity yesterday.  He threw 10 4-seamers and averaged 93.2 MPH on those pitches, maxing out at 94.5.  He also hit 93 with his sinker a few times, both of those values far above what he was throwing in his first 2 starts.  We heard Larry Rothschild say recently that Tanaka needs to stop thinking so much on the mound and trust his arm and his stuff.  Perhaps yesterday was the first instance of him taking that advice and letting it go with the heater.  He looked like a much different pitcher yesterday than he did in his first 2 starts, like he wasn’t holding anything back.  If he can consistently stay 92-94 with his fastball, it’s going to make the rest of his offspeed stuff that much more effective.

Carlos Beltran certainly looks like he’s picked up right where he left off last year.  After hitting .292/.364/.513 in the second half, he’s off to a .341/.357/.610 start in his first 11 games.  He’s not going to sustain that line over the whole year or even the rest of this month, but the hot start and the positive eye test is an encouraging sign that he can remain productive in this final year of his deal.  He looks completely relaxed and balanced at the plate, and his at-bats more than anybody else on the team’s seem to end with hard contact.

– On the opposite end of that spectrum, the bench production has been lacking in the early going.  Dustin Ackley doesn’t have a hit in 8 plate appearances, Aaron Hicks only has 1 in 13, and Austin Romine hasn’t made anybody forget that he’s Austin Romine.  The only player swinging a decent bat off the bench is Ronald Torreyes, who is 6-12, and he was expected to be the weakest offensive link of the bench group.  It could just be a matter of adjusting to irregular playing time and I’m sure Joe is going to start working Hicks in more to keep his outfield starters fresh, but it would be nice to see these guys hit a little bit when they’re in the game. Continue reading Monday Morning Musings: 4/18/16

Game 11 Quick recap: Yankees 4, Mariners 3

Your browser does not support iframes. Alex Rodriguez‘s 689th home run not only snapped an 0-19 skid, but it helped the Yankees win today’s game, stave off a three-game sweep at the hands of the Seattle Mariners and it helped avoid an overall five-game losing streak. Phew! Other good stuff from today’s much needed win: Masahiro Tanaka became the first Yankees starter this season to pitch through the seventh inning. Coming into today’s game only the Yankees, Reds, and Marlins were among that elite club of ineptitude. Tanaka gave up three runs on six hits in those seven innings and Continue reading Game 11 Quick recap: Yankees 4, Mariners 3

Game 11: Try not to get swept, thanks

Today is a big day in Japan. Five years after they were teammates in Japan Masahiro Tanaka and Hisashi Iwakuma will become the first former teammates from Japan to start against each other in the majors. They were matched up against each other back in 2014, but that game was rained out. Today’s contest will be airing at 2:05 a.m. over in Japan and a big audience is expected to tune in. As for what’s happening here in the states, the Yankees are trying to avoid getting swept by Seattle and also trying to avoid a five-game losing streak overall. Their last win was Continue reading Game 11: Try not to get swept, thanks

Sunday Morning News And Notes: 4/17/16

Sorry I wasn’t around yesterday, gang.  Milwaukee Beer Week started yesterday and there were some festivities in which I had to participate after a long work week.  Let’s catch up on what’s been happening the last few days, shall we?

– The Yankees have lost each of the first 2 games of this Seattle series, both very winnable games that the Mariners seemingly did everything in their power to give away.  The Yanks were done in by their ridiculous run of early-season RISPFail and the dreaded “1 bad inning” from their starters.  But hey, the bullpen still looks great, right??

– The RISPFail has been really, really bad.  The team is 3-46 with runners in scoring position over their last 5 games, and if I’m not mistaken I believe 2 of those 3 hits only advanced a runner to third and did not score him.  That makes it pretty easy to understand how the Yanks have gone 1-4 in those last 5 games and scored 10 total runs.

Alex Rodriguez is 0 for his last 19 after taking an 0-5 with 3 Ks yesterday and is down to .103/.235/.207 on the year.  It looks to me like he’s seeing the ball well enough, his swing is just a little slow.  It’s way too early to start fretting about how bad he’ll be for the rest of this year, but I have to think Joe will bump him down in the order today for Carlos Beltran.  You can’t have your worst hitter batting third while your team is struggling to score runs.

– One good thing the Yankees are doing offensively right now is stealing bases.  They swiped 3 yesterday and come into today’s series finale tied with the Astros for the MLB lead with 11.  Interestingly enough, Chase Headley is tied for the team lead with 3.  He didn’t steal a single base last year.  Something something, you can’t predict baseball.

– Also, the bullpen.  Holy crap it’s been good.  Tops in MLB in fWAR (1.1), FIP (1.78), and K rate (33.1%).  Collectively they’ve faced 136 batters in 32.1 innings pitched and struck out 45 of them.  That’s insane.  Dellin Betances has fanned 12 of the 21 guys he’s faced so far, and Andrew Miller has K’d 9 of the 14 he’s faced.  Admittedly this group is top-heavy, with Betances, Miller, Chasen Shreve, and Johnny Barbato doing the heavy lifting and combining for a 0.00 ERA, but the numbers aren’t any less impressive.

– And how about Barbato?  Another scoreless appearance yesterday, giving him 5 on the young season in 6.0 IP.  He’s struck out 9 to just 2 walks and given up only 2 hits.  His stuff continues to look plenty good to be effective at this level and he pitches with the aggressiveness that some of the Yankees’ other Triple-A shuttle guys lacked last year.  No chance he should even be in consideration for a shuttle trip if he continues to pitch well.

James Kaprielian made his second start of the MiL season yesterday.  He didn’t allow an earned run in 7 innings, but it was his defensive error that led to 3 unearned runs.  He also only gave up 1 hit and struck out 4, so it doesn’t look like his time in Tampa is going to be very long.

We’ll have a game thread later this afternoon and I’ll be back for the recap later tonight, I promise.  Let’s see if the boys can’t break out of this funk today and win one. Continue reading Sunday Morning News And Notes: 4/17/16