Hughes improves by cutting out the cutter

Phil Hughes has been a mystifying and at times infuriating pitcher to watch throughout his Yankee career.  As a prospect, he was viewed as very unlikely to bust because he had good command to go along with a fastball that could touch the mid-90′s and a legitimate plus curveball.  In the majors, Phil’s...

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Previewing Yankees Vs. Rays: Vengeance Is A Dish Best Served, Well, At Home, Apparently

In other impressive streak-related news (and I do think that this should be a required drop-down menu on any major baseball website), with a win tonight, James Shields would tie Scott Kazmir’s record for consecutive wins as a Ray (and the magic number is…6! Come on down!). And while I’m all for watching history being made, there are a good number of reasons why I don’t think this will happen want to witness this: (1) James Shields has a lifetime 2-6 record, with a 5.05 ERA in Yankee Stadium (2) I don’t want the Rays to win (3) I want the Yankees to win (4) the Rays have, despite “their recent dominance of New York,” only two wins in their last eight games in the Bronx (5) after being chronically underappreciated in the offseason, the Rays are now over-hyped (in this author’s exceedingly un-humble opinion) and (6) Ivan Nova has been good against the Rays, holding a 2-0 record in four starts with a 3.47 ERA (his last outing against Tampa was a 7 and two-thirds inning shutout gem).…

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Mickey Mantle’s 500th homer

On this Mothers Day in 1967, Mantle was stuck on 499 career home runs. It had been eleven days since he had belted 499 in Minnesota. It looked like it took an act of will for him to even step on the field at that point and so we wondered how long it would take.

For once, we boys were not sitting glued to the television watching the game. Choosing between watching the Yankees and having one of those Emerson steak dinners would have been an impossible choice. But it was Mothers Day and that trumped the decision. So we missed the game. Mel Stottlemyre got the start for the Yankees and Steve Barber, a left-handed pitcher who lost eighteen games in 1967, started for the Orioles. Barber would later pitch for the Yankees. With Barber pitching, the switch-hitting Mantle would bat from the right side and reached on an error in the first by Brooks Robinson. That didn’t happen often!…

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WAR is Better, Healthier, More Supportive of Ryan Braun, Ben Zobrist

Last November, much ado was made, I mean a heck-of-a-lot-of-ado was made, about Matt Kemp’s WAR. So much ado that Jonah Keri was still making much ado about it last week. According to the old bWAR, Kemp had posted the best single-season from a hitter since Barry Bonds “preposterous ’04 campaign.” Kemp’s 10.0 bWAR was so abundantly better than Ryan Braun’s 7.7, Sport’s Illustrated’s Cliff Corcoran could go so far as to claim “MVP voting continues to defy logic or reason” because the BBWAA had the audacity to choose Braun over Kemp (by the slimmest of margins). (To be fair, Corcoran was hardly alone in his outrage, he merely mainstreamed a widely-held position.)

While it’s hardly true that everybody made their MVP arguments based upon WAR alone, nor was Kemp by any means an illogical choice, this type of reductive brow-beating has been an unfortunate side effect of WAR’s popularity. The inconclusiveness of arguments based solely on single-season discrepancies in WAR is reinforced by the Baseball-Reference update.…

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What’s Robinson worth?

Okay, so there’s no shocking reveal here: Player A is Robinson Cano, while Player B is Nick Swisher, and the team facing a tight budget is the Yankees as they attempt to meet Bud Selig’s Hal Steinbrenner’s austerity dictum before the 2014 season. With Cano, Swisher, and Curtis Granderson not under contract for that season and large commitments to Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira in place, general manager Brian Cashman is going to have to make some hard choices about the makeup of the Yankees’ lineup between then and now. Up until now, it’s pretty much been assumed that those plans would be made around Cano’s new contract, but this post by Mike Axisa sort of hints at a good counterpoint that made me at least consider whether the Yankees should instead plan on letting Cano walk away vie free agency after 2013.

The problem, however, is that the same problem Axisa identifies with right field depth in the organization exists at the other positions as well.…

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Nova’s Hard Contact Problem

Ivan Nova‘s first three starts of 2012 were a collective lesson in tight-rope walking. Though he gave up 25 hits in the 19 innings he pitched, he only allowed 8 earned runs, good for a 3.79 ERA. He was able to mitigate the hits by not putting anyone else on base (2 walks...

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