Tuesday, June 30, 2009

From ESPN.com Commenter....

mphill9623 says:As a Red Sox fan, this deal kind of scares me. He is the grit that I think the Yankees lack.

Eric Hinske Traded to the Yankees

After we learned Nady would be out for the season it became clear that the Yankees would need another bat. Cashman downplayed the rumors but today we learned that Eric Hinske will be coming to the Yankees. Eric Fryer (the guy we got for Chase Wright) and Scott Erickson will be going to the Pirates. The Pirates are also picking up some of Hinske's contract.

Hinske will be in uniform tonight, Ramiro Pena is being sent down to AAA where he'll get regular playing time. My first reaction is that I like this deal but I didn't look to carefully at the numbers yet.

Yurendell Caster Signed

I know very little about him but the Yankees have signed independant league third baseman, Yurendell Caster. He'll be playing as the starter for Scranton but can play several positions. He played for the Netherlands in the WBC. The Yankees have been reasonably succesful in this area so he could be an interesting guy to follow.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Manny Banuelos, The Next Big Thing

While it may be a bit of a misnomer to call the 5'10", 155 lbs. lefty "big" in any sense of the word, I cannot help but be genuinely excited by his progress since signing out of Mexico last Spring. As a 17 year-old in the rookie level Gulf Coast League, Banuelos posted the following numbers last summer in twelve games (three starts):

4-1, 42 IP, 32 H, 13 BB, 37 K, .208 BAA, 2.57 ERA, 1.07 WHIP

Impressive doesn't quite cut it, to be perfectly honest. Elisaul Pimentel led the GCL in ERA in 2008, checking in at 2.41 - and he's nearly three years older than Banuelos. The diminutive lefty began 2009 in low Class-A. Check out his numbers thus far, through twelve starts:

5-3, 61 IP, 47 H, 14 BB, 57 K, .207 BAA, 2.51 ERA, 1.00 WHIP

Banuelos is currently sixth in the league in ERA - all five pitchers ahead of him are at least one year older (and two of which are three-plus years older). He is pitching well-ahead of even the most optimistic projections thus far, and I cannot help but think he can be even better with time - after all, he's only 18.

According to the Baseball America Prospect Handbook, Banuelos' fastball sits between 90 and 92 MPH, he changes speeds well, and he should develop a strong breaking ball. Other sources note that he has excellent command and the makings of a fantastic change-up.

Wang Wins, Rivera Saves #500

Its a pattern we've become accustomed to since Wang first came up back in 2005. Wang for six or seven innings, piece together the middle innings, and Rivera to close it out. The combination has been used 24 times now, to great effect for the Yankees. However, before last night it had not happened since June 10, 2008. Wang seems to have figured things out now though. I'll have more on Wang later.

First the game though, the Yankees jumped ahead quickly for what felt like the first time in ages. Jeter dismissed worries about his health right away with a leadoff double. Nick Swisher followed with what should have been an easy ground ball out. However, Daniel Murphy tried and failed to get Jeter at third instead. This set up a big Mark Teixeira double that drove in both Swisher and Jeter. Right away this gave them a 2-0 lead and they would get one more run that inning. It looked like the Yankees were going to run away with this one if Wang could just turn a decent outing. That was all the runs they would get though until the eighth when a combination of an error and walks would lead to K-Rod walking in Mariano for his first career RBI.

The Yankees blew several opportunities with men on base and could have scored more but the pitching was good enough for them to get away with it. Chien-Ming Wang turned in his third straight solid start and was good enough to get a win. He gave up nothing to the Mets until the fourth when they tagged him for two runs and really could have finished the sixth if it had not been a one run game at that point. What's important is that he got twelve ground balls, compared to only three fly balls and no line drives. That's vintage Wang right there. He needs to get deeper into games but he seems to have cemented his position in the rotation again and is gaining back some lose trust. The Yankees then attempted to piece together the rest of the game. The two Phils (Coke and Hughes) finished the sixth for Wang, Hughes would also pitch a scoreless seventh. The eighth was the only time the game really seemed in reach for the Mets. Brian Bruney would get two outs, however, he would also walk two and be forced to give way to Mariano Rivera. Mariano, of course, got out of the jam and pitched an uneventful ninth for his 500th save.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

More Minor News

Just read on MLBTR that the Yankees are one of four teams that are in on Dominican pitcher Christopher Cabera. I know nothing about him.

Jorge Arangure actually made the twitter post.

Bleich is Promoted to AA

Mike Ashmore has the news on his blog. He has a long quote from Tommy Phelps, Trenton's pitching coach, on Bleich. I happy to see him get the call. Early on I wasn't sure we'd made the right decision for our prospect watch but he's shown a great deal of potential since then. He definitely deserves the promotion and it'll be exciting to see him tested against higher competition. His first start for Trenton will be Thursday.

I also want to apologize for the missing recaps the past three days. I promise that win or lose I'll have one up tomorrow.

Not Everybody Makes It

It pains me to write this but I just read on Pete Abraham's blog that J.B. Cox will be retiring. I remember when Cox, Hughes, and Tyler Clippard were the crown jewels of theYankees farm system. Hughes as the ace, Clippard as a solid #2, and Cox as the next great Yankees closer. Clippard and Cox are tough reminders that most prospects, no matter how well touted, end up as busts.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Venditte Promoted

The 24 year old reliever finally got the promotion to Tampa. What shocking is that it took so long with his numbers as ridiculous as they are. It'll be interesting to see if he can continue his success against tougher competition.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Xavier Nady to Undergo Tommy John Surgery

Xavier Nady's season is over and next year is in question, too, the New York Post has learned.

According to several teammates, the Yankees outfielder told them late Thursday night that his right elbow requires Tommy John surgery, a procedure that often takes 12-14 months recovery.

Reached today, all Nady said was, "I am going to have a lot of time on my hands."

Nady, a free agent at the end of the season, felt something in the elbow in the third inning of a Triple-A rehab game Thursday night and removed himself two innings later. He plans on being at Citi Field today and is scheduled to see Dr. Lewis Yocum in California. Yocum performed the same surgery on Nady in 2001.

According to the Nady, "There was no reason to do tests" today.

"It's disappointing," said Joe Girardi, who didn't confirm that Nady needs surgery to repair a ligament that first bothered him April 14 and forced him from a game against the Rays. "I am more disappointed for him than I am the club. You would love to have him back. He has put a lot of time into this. I know how bad he wants to play."

The fact that Nady, 30, is headed to Yocum told Girardi the problem is serious.

"My gut tells me it is injured again," Girardi said. "Him going to see Yocum tells me it's more than what he felt in Tampa."

Though Girardi had Nady only for seven games (in which he hit .286 with two RBIs) and there was no guarantee of having him back at some point, quietly the Yankees were hoping to have Nady's right-handed bat to help out in right field, where switch-hitter Nick Swisher is playing every day.

Now that won't happen. And though GM Brian Cashman said this week "a bat isn't needed," knowing that Nady isn't returning might change the Yankees' mind.

Nady was acquired from the Pirates with lefty reliever Damaso Marte last July and batted .268 in 59 games. Marte is currently on the disabled list with an injured shoulder and nobody can predict when he will be back.

I have very mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, I feel terrible that Nady has suffered such a severe setback - he has an excellent reputation within the clubhouse and, after steadily improving year-to-year, had a large leap in production in 2008, appearing to put it all together. It's a shame that he will likely be unable to play again until this time next season (at the earliest).

On the other hand, many fans were eager to see Yankees deal Nady, as he had more value than any other outfielder. While the return wouldn't have been much, the Yankees may've been able to acquire a better bullpen option than Veras or a better infield option than Berroa. This is, of course, hindsight - but it is something to consider.

In the end, the Yankees probably did the right thing in holding onto Nady, Swisher, and Cabrera. The team is somewhat old and fragile, and depth is a very good thing to have. While Nady is very unlikely to have much of an impact this season, barring some sort of miracle, it seems both inane and inappropriate to lambast the organization for holding onto him.

Get well soon, X.

Bleich Dominates Again

Just another great job by Bleich. Through 6.1 innings he he gave up only two runs, one of them earned. He was cruising for the first six innings, striking out six and walking only one. St. Lucie managed to get one run off of him in the top of the fourth but that was largely a result of two errors made behind him in the field. He really ran into trouble in the seventh. He lost his control and gave up two doubles and a wild pitch that inning for the only earned run that St. Lucie would get off of him.

His line for the game:

6.1 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 1 WP, 11-2 GB/FB

His season numbers are looking great right now and Trenton is going to need a starter soon. Look for Bleich to get a promotion any day. It'll be interesting to see him tested against AA hitters.

Nady Suffers a Setback

Bad news for Nady. In the sixth inning of Scranton's game he felt pain in his arm. This could mean he'll have to undergo the season ending surgery he was hoping to avoid. I'm really looking forward to seeing him in back in the Bronx and hopefully this is just a minor setback.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Casey Fossum Opts Out

Normally I would bother making a post on a AAA with no shot of making the ML team opting out. However, this might send ripple effects throughout the system. First of all as Chad Jennings notes, Trenton's starter for Saturday is now To Be Announced instead of Ivan Nova. I'm not a big fan of Nova but he's been nothing short of dominant lately and could be in line for a promotion to take Fossum's spot. Personally, I think it would make more sense for Zack McAllister to get the call.

Regardless, somebody is going to get a call up. Another possible effect, the obvious corresponding move to fill the hole in Trenton's rotation would be to promote Jeremy Bleich which is something I'd really love to see. This all just speculation though until something actually happens. They could just sign a random free agent instead.

Yankees Win

With the Yankees floundering and Cashman in the stands, it was clear they needed a win yesterday. Well, they pulled together and actually managed to pull it off, thank god.

For the first few innings it looked like we were going to be watching a pitcher's duel in which two or three runs might actually be enough. Not exactly though. The Braves pitcher, Kenshin Kawakami, was hit by a line drive by Joba and immeidately left the game. The Braves next pitcher, Kris Medlen, wasn't really any easier to hit though. In the fifth the tie was broken by a Jeff Franceour solo homer. It wasn't until the sixth that the Yankees finally broke up the perfect game with a seemingly unremarkable walk by Brett Gardner.

One problem I've had with Gardner on the basepaths this year is that he has a tendency to take to big of a lead. Pitchers know that he's going and he gets picked off more than he should. This was the case in last night's game. In what became the game defining play, Medlen fired a throw over to first, Gardner dove back, and the ump called him out. Replays showed he was safe and Girardi certainly thought he was safe but that's not how the ump saw it. Girardi went out their and got ejected, in the process firing up his team. I don't know if that really matters or not but the Yankees definitely seemed more animated today. The next batter, Fransisco Cervelli, hit the first home run of his career to tie it up and the rally would only continue. After singles by Jeter and Damon and a walk of Teixeira A-Rod had the chance to prove a point. As he often does in situations like that, he came through with the big hit and gave Joba a lead to work with. The Yankees would go on to tack on more runs with a Nick Swisher, who was almost benched for the game, home run and more by capitalizing on some mistakes by Atlanta in the later innings.

After the A-Rod hit though, the pitching took over. Joba was very strong through his first six innings. The only run he gave up was on a solo home run to Jeff Franceour and had five strikeouts. What was especially ecnouraging was the fact that he walked none. That's been his biggest problem this year. He was still shaking off Fransisco Cervelli but when he pitches like that, who cares? He did seem to tire though in the seventh. He gave up one earned run in that inning and another unearned run before giving way to Phil Coke who got out of the jam. Bruney almost gave it up in the 8th but Mariano came in and restored order.

Another big game today If they can get a win with Pettitte against Derrek Lowe then they may be ready to go on another one of those winning streak things. They won with the liveblog so for now I guess it stays. Hopefully this time comments will actually work.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Berroa DFA'd

I honestly totally forgot about Cody Ransom but he's back from his injury which means Angel Berroa is gone. I guess this means Ramiro Pena is next in line for a demotion when Nady makes his return, which shouldn't be long now. Unless they want to keep two infielders and wave bye bye to Brett Tomko.

News and Notes

Just a few quick midgame notes:
  • Nady is starting in the AAA rightfield tonight. I imagine he'll be back quite soon if the Yankees don't start hitting.
  • The Yankees had a long overdue team meeting last night. Apparently Mark Teixeira spoke out. If he's already a leader in the clubhouse, as this would indicate, its going to be a good eight years with him in the Bronx.
  • Jose Veras was traded to the Indians. All they got in return was cash. Dissapointing considering what they could have gotten a couple months ago but what are you gonna do?

LIVE-BLOG 6/24-Yankees at Braves; Game 71


Since the Yankees have hit a snag recent the Knoblog team has decided to resurrect the liveblog. Though we have never won a game that we live-blogged hopefully we will be able to turn this team around with our stupid jokes and announcer bashing.

Happy Birthday to Phil Hughes!

YANKEES (38-32)
YANKEES (38-32)
Jeter SS
Damon LF
Teixeira 1B
Rodriguez 3B
Cano 2B
Swisher RF
Gardner CF
Cervelli C
Chamberlain RHP

Pitching: RHP Joba Chamberlain (3-2, 3.89).

BRAVES (34-36)
Lineup TBA
Pitching: RHP Kenshin Kawakami (4-6, 4.42)
TIME/TV: 7:05 p.m., YES, ESPN2.


I'm skipping the recap today. Noboy really wants to rehash that game. Instead I'm going to focus on Wang and Phil Hughes. Wang put together his second consecutive good outing and has probably earned himself a little bit of breathing room. Not that five innings, three runs is anything to get excited over. However, considering where he was a couple starts ago its a major step forward. He was at around 60 pitches when he came out and its conceivable that if they weren't playing in the National League, he would have gone seven or eight innings. Not that it would have mattered in the end with the Yankees floundering offense. If he gets crushed in his next start he might be forced out of the rotation but he seems like he's figured things out and might be back to pitching like the old Chien Ming Wang. Yet again, his next start is going to be a big one to see if he can follow up on his success.

Hughes also pitched extremely well again. I'm sure he's keeping Wang on a short leash. He's been just dominating and his numbers are all around very good. Its only a matter of time before somebody gets hurt and Hughes finds his spot in the rotation. I don't think Phil is ever going back to Scranton at this point. He's been the rare bright spot during the Yankees downward spiral.

Desperate times call for desperate measures, tonight during Joba's start we will be resurrecting the liveblog. I assume we'll start around game time, 7:00. Feel free to join us.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Seriously, why are these two on a ML baseball team?

Berroa is still milking the ROTY award he stole back in 2003. That's only possible explanation I can see for the fact that anybody would have him as anything other than a minor league filler guy. He serves absolutely no purpose. He can't field at third base, the only spot he's played at this year and C.C. Sabathia would be more productive as a hitter than him. The best way to illustrate how bad he's been is that he hasn't posted a positive WAR since that rookie year in 2003. He just takes playing time away from Ramiro Pena, who at least is good in the field. I'm sure he'll be gone soon as Xavier Nady makes his way back from injury but its annoying for me to see a guy with no value on the ML team while John Rodriguez and Shelley Duncan mash in AAA. John Rodriguez in particular has consistently posted excellent numbers in AAA over the past few years and hit well in his brief ML time. I would love to see him get a shot.

Brett Tomko's presence makes a bit more sense but not much. He has a career of mediocore starting behind him at least rather than complete futility, got unlucky last year on balls in play, and dominated AAA. However, he's proven pretty clearly he can't get ML hitters out this year. I thought he would be gone in a matter of hours after his game blowing performance against the Marlins. Apparently not though. He's been really bad. He can't even keep a team in the game and give them innings if a starter comes out early as his most recent job indicated. With so many former starters in the bullpen, they don't need a guy that give them mop-up innings. So, why not call up Claggett or Melancon, hell even Edwar is working his way back into a ML job somewhere. If they're desperate for a long man, Sergio Mitre makes sense.

The Yankees are always slow to cut away guys that aren't producing. Why? I have no idea but they'd do well to replace these two.

Monday, June 22, 2009

What to do with the pitching?

The entire Al East, including the Yankees, have the day off. This gives them a chance to rest and regroup after the worst stretch of games they've gone through since last August. It also gives us bloggers to gripe about the various problems we see them having. The biggest dissapointment this year has been the rotation.

First, lets look at some FIP's for the rotation.

Sabathia- 3.80

Sabathia has been the only reliable pitcher for the Yankees throughout the year. He would face no challenge to his spot but now he's hurt. We don't know how bad it is. He claims he will make his next start but Girardi isn't quite so sure. Obviously, we hope he can make the start against the Mets. I have no problem with C.C though.

Chamberlain- 4.52

Well, can you believe it? Joba's beent he Yankees second best pitcher. With the way I've heard people talking, I'd though he had suddenly turned into Sidney Ponson and his destroyed, hopeless career could only be salvaged coming out of the bullpen. No, Joba's just a young guy who's going to go through struggles before emerging into the ace he can become. For now though, he's still a solid pitcher who anybody would be happy with at the back-end of the rotation if everybody else was doing their job. You guys know my stance of Joba, if he started challenging guys more and shaking Posada off less, he could take a big step forward.

Pettitte- 4.61

Before his last start, Pettitte had a lot of people worried, including myself. We were hearing whispers about back problems and not seeing many results. However, his last start was about as dominant as Pettitte will be for what's left of his career. I expect Pettitte's numbers to get a bit bettter as the season goes on. I also think that Girardi and co. are going to try and keep him away from Yankee Stadium as much as possible. His numbers are vastly better on the road than at home and I think that would be a big help to him.

Burnett- 4.84

Burnett is not the guy I wanted in the offseason. He had never been the ace some people made him out to be and I still have big injury concerns about him. Watching Burnett nibble and give up runs is painful when Derrek Lowe, who's sinker ball style seems tailor made for Yankee Stadium, has an FIP of 3.42 for the Braves. Burnett's not going to be this bad though. His problem is his ridiculous walk totals. Like Joba, he's a flamethrower that needs to trust his stuff and through the ball in the strikezone. I assume that Eiland, Posada, or Girardi will notice this before long if they haven't already. I'm not positive but I think he's generally better in the second half anyway so I'm sure he'll be all right.

Wang- 6.14

At this point in the season, we have to start considering the possibility that Wang sucks. He's shown very little signs of being the pitcher he was before his injury and I think this next start is going to be his last for a long time unless he can put together a good outing. However, their are encouraging signs. He finally gave the Yankees a quality start last time out and I'm hoping he may have turned a corner. If they could get him going again it would be a huge boost to this team and could trigger a turnaround. Big start for Wang coming up.

So what can the Yankees really do? I guess Wang will get one more start and if he gets hit hard again he'll make way for Phil Hughes. What about the others though? Its tough to see them yanking Burnett from the rotation and anybody else wouldn't really make much sense. We'll jut have to hope that they can magically start pitching better.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Downhill Slide

The Yankees have hit a snag in their recent success with tough losses from the Sox, Nationals and now the Marlins. They have lost 4 of the last 8 and are now 4 games back behind the Red Sox. Now their record stands at 38-31 and they really need to pick it up in the coming games.

Damon's Loss

This loss has to be on Johnny Damon. I really don't feel like getting to detailed into this game. A.J. Burnett sems to have hit a groove and was cruising for most of this game. However he got derailed by a huge Johnny Damon error. Damon also later killed a rally in thbe eighth. I'm tired of watching them lose to inferior teams.

Miguel Sano

The period were teams can sign international free agents begins on July second. The Yankees have already come to an agreement with their favorite available player, Gary Sanchez, but some consider shortstop Miguel Ano Sano to be the bigger prize. The Yankees aren't considered to be the frontrunner for him with the Pirate and possibly the Twins willing to offer over four million dollars to the young Dominican. However, he did workout for the Yanks and they have been known for flexing their financial muscles in this area for premier players (re: Montero, Jesus). The Yankees have to be worried about the post Derek Jeter era and I wouldn't be shocked if they swooped in and stole him, anybody who's drawn comparisons to Hanley Ramirez has to be intriguing.

BTW happy father's day.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Struggling Yankees

Things were looking so good for the Yankees when the Red Sox came into town two weeks ago. They had sole position of first place for the first time in the post Torre era and for the first time in Joe Girardi's managerial career. They looked like a team ready to prove something against the Red Sox and put some distance between the two of them. Instead, they got massacred and were swept in three games and still haven't recovered. Over their last ten games they're 3-7 and if not for a dropped ball by Luis Castillo they'd be 2-8. Hardly the makings of a championship team. I know all teams go through periods like this but things need to turn around soon otherwise Boston is going to put some serious distance between us and them. Not only that but over the past ten games the Angels have crept up in the early Wild Card chase and are only a half a game back.

Gary Sanchez to the Yankees

George King is reporting that Gary Sanchez will be signing with the Yankees when the international free agent signing period begins July 2nd. For those of you who are unaware, as was I before today, Gary Sanchez is one of those mysterious international free agents that us normal fans know nothing about, other than the hype that scouts and agents surround them with. What we do know is that he's a big sixteen year old catcher from the Dominican Republic who, unlike Jesus Montero, is as likely as anybody to stick behind the plate. Scouts love his power and what he's done behind the plate. The deal is worth 2.5 million dollars according to King. The article has some good quotes on him that are worth reading, so check it out.

The Yankees have been after him hard for a while now so I'm sure they're happy about this.

This Post Needs No Title

From Pete Abe:

UPDATE, 6:13 p.m.: Mark Teixeira just left BP after fouling a ball off that glanced off the cage and caught him in a bad place. No word on whether he’ll stay in the lineup yet.

UPDATE, 7:10 p.m.: We’re underway here in Miami. Teixeira remains in the lineup. I guess you can say he’s showing a lot of … um … fortitude.

Nondescript Win

Well, if today was a big day for Pettitte, he definitely delivered. Andy is one of the most beloved Yankees and in his most current Yankees stint, we've been used to watching him grind out five or six solid innings when another guy might lose the game. So, when he throws a gem its really enjoyable. Sort of satisfying I guess. Tonight he gave the Marlins no chance. He had a lead early on and aside from a slight blip in third, a solo home to Cody Ross, he gave the Marlins absolutely nothing. He scattered the three hits he gave up and walked nobody while K'ing seven. The Marlin's didn't stand a chance. Bruney and Tomko pitching the final two innings and put up zeroes.

For once the offense actually got ahead early as well. I know, shocking. Everybody in the lineup got a hit, including a big double from Pettitte. Jeter's long double in the first really set the tone for the whole game. Michael Kay kept repeating that it felt like a blowout but wasn't and he was right. The lack of hitting with RISP kept it interesting but five runs was enough for tonight. The Yankees needed a win like this one after nearly blowing three straight series, with only a couple of those games being blowouts.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Go To Hell Pap

"Oh, of course. I mean, I think if we can't come to an agreement on terms here in a Red Sox uniform, I mean I think that's pretty much the writing on the wall."

"Not only the Bronx, but anywhere. I think anywhere is a possibility. You always have to keep that in the back of your mind because you can't just be one-sided and think that, "Oh, I'm going to be in a Red Sox uniform my entire career" because nowadays that is very, very rare and hopefully we can because there's no question I would love to stay in a Boston Red Sox uniform but I have to do what's best for me and play in an atmosphere where I'm wanted."

Who says we want you here?

Big Start For Pettitte?

Andy got off to a strong start but he has petered off since then. Their are whispers about back problems with him and over his last three starts, his ERA is 6.75. He's facing the offensively anemic Marlins today and has a chance to turn things around.

A Pitching Plan

This was not the way things were supposed to work out fo rthe Yankees. The new additions of Burnett and Sabathia were supposed to flank the returning dual aces of Wang and Joba to form an unbeatable rotation. Add in the depth of guys like Kennedy, Coke, Hughes, Pettitte, and Aceves and you had arguably the best rotation in baseball.

Instead they've ended up with one of the highest team ERA's in baseball and have become increasingly reliant on a bullpen ranging from mediocore to bad. Mostly bad. Of the four "aces" the Yankees had only C.C. has delivered in any sense of the word. Burnett and Joba have been dissapointingly mediocore and nobody can seem to figure out what's wrong with Wang. Meanwhile, Pettitte appears to running on fumes, Kennedy is hurt, and Hughes, Coke, and Aceves have become the only trustworthy relievers the Yankees have.

So why the sudden turn of events? The Yankees power pitchers are nibbling at the strikezone. Other than C.C., all of the Yankees pitchers have unusually high walk rates. Pettitte's is the highest of his career, Burnett is rivaling and sometimes even topping his earliest years when he was a young flamethrower for the Marlins, Joba has added over a full BB/9 over last year, and I'm not even going to mention Wang's numbers until next year if I can help it. Burnett has the highest BB/9 among qualifying pitchers in the AL. However, if Joba or Wang qualified then both of them would be ahead of him. Pettitte is also among league leaders which is especially bad news for him.

My theory is that pitchers are afraid of the ballpark. They see the ridiculous home run totals and are afraid of giving them up, so they do their best Mike Mussina impression and nibble. For Burnett and Joba who are capable of throwing mid 90's fastballs this is one of the worst mistakes they could make. Burnett and Joba just need to relax and do what they do best. Sure, they'll give up some homers but the other guy will to. When you walk in a run with the bases loaded though, that pisses me off. If they can get Wang right, he'll be fine. Obviously, its tough to hit a groundball home run. The only guy that I see no solution for is Andy Pettitte. If he throws strikes, guys are going to crush his 88 mph fastball and throwing balls is, generally speaking, a bad idea. If the other three guys are on track though then they should be able to keep him away from the stadium. I don't really think that the Yankees pitching woes are a result of a lack of talent so much as a poor approach. I think with some work, Dave Eiland and Joe Girardi can turn this stadium into an advantage.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Yankees Lose

Its like I said yesterday, the Yankees don't play like a normal team. For the first seven or eight innings, this team sleeps. They scatter a handful of hits and hold the other team in check but actually score a couple or runs or shutdown the other team? Nope, not these Yankees.

Joba Chamberlain muddled his way through six innings. He wasn't great but he got by. His control was off and, again, he seemed to be shaking off his catcher a lot. He gave the Yankees a chance to win though. If you're starter goes six innings and gives up only three runs against the Nationals. You should win. Particularly when your bullpen doesn't give up any runs and you're facing a pitcher with an ERA approaching six. Not to mention their bullpen.

However, the Yankees didn't show a single sign of life until the seventh when they nearly scored on a handful of hits. That impossible dream was killed by an incredible catch made to prevent what would have been a sure double by A-Rod. I know all about the Fucking Fallacy of the Goddamned Preditermined Outcome (FFOFGPO) but its easy to imagine them scoring a couple runs that inning and going on to win the game. Then in the bottom of the ninth they showed some signs of life with a leadoff hit, followed by a near walk turned double play from Nick Swisher and a flyout from Matsui.

I really don't feel like getting all that detailed analyzing this game. It was a microsm of the series, or even the whole season. They do nothing for six innings and show to little to late at the end of the game. Had Luis Castillo not misplayed a certain pop fly, they would be looking at three straight series losses against the Red Sox, Mets, and Nationals. It doesn't get much worse than that. Its still early but I'd like to see the Yankees start a turnaround before things start spiraling out of control.

Ten Reasons To Stay Postitive!!!!

I've got nothing guys, sorry.

Where's Hank?

After the latest disaster against the Red Sox I got to wondering what ever happened to Hank Steinbrenner. This time last year he just wouldn't shut up. This year, utter silence. Surely after losing two out of three to the Nationals some sort of blustery false ultimatum is going to get made right?

6/18-Nationals at Yankees: Game 66

YANKEES (37-28)
  1. Gardner CF
  2. Damon LF
  3. Teixeira 1B
  4. Rodriguez 3B
  5. Cano 2B
  6. Swisher RF
  7. Matsui DH
  8. Cervelli C
  9. Pena SS
RHP Joba Chamberlain
(3-1, 3.84)
6/12 vs NYM
4.0 IP, 2 ER/Dec = ND

  1. Guzman SS
  2. Johnson 1B
  3. Zimmerman 3B
  4. Dunn DH
  5. Kearns RF
  6. Patterson CF
  7. Harris LF
  8. Belliard 2B
  9. Nieves C
RHP Craig Stammen (0-2, 5.86)
Last appearance:
6/12 at TAM
5.1 IP, 2 ER/Dec = ND

TIME: 1:05 p.m. (scheduled), 6:30 FIRST PITCH

Mark Teixeira Appreciation Thread

I was reading an article the other day that called C.C. Sabathia the Yankees MVP for the innings he has produced. I thought about that for a while and I had a tough time coming up with someone else who was a better candidate forthe title of Yankees MVP. Its kind of surprising it took so long for me to think of Mark Teixiera. The biggest signing of all of this past offseason moves to New York and ends up almost unnoticed. Since the start of the season we have only used the Mark Teixeira tag four times since spring training began. As a point of comparison, Melky's tag has been used six times since the start of spring training.

So, I want to take this moment to appreciate the Yankees MVP, Mark Teixeira. He's given us gold glove level defense and silver slugger worthy offense. He doesn't have Alex Rodriguez's flair for the dramatic but last night really was a great example of the type of player he is. He made a great play on defense that could have saved an extra base hit and almost started a rally to win the game in the 9th. A quietly excellent producer who everybody kind of forgot about after his April struggles. Worth every penny, at least so far.

Brackman Doesn't Suck

Well, right now he does but he's not going to forever. After another horrible start yesterday by, first round draft pick, Andrew Brackman his season numbers look really ugly. Coupling that with some rumors that his velocity was down in his latest disaster, he has some fans preparing to jump off a cliff. In some ways, I agree with them. I didn't really like the pick when it was made but he was drafted for his insanely high potential. If he continues this way all year and then repeats it next year its time to worry. But until then, calm down.

Yankees Lose

It doesn't seem like these Yankees ever really have normal games. Its always either a dramatic comeback win or as painful a loss as they can make it.

Wang pitched fine for once. He kept the Yankees in the game and I assume he will get another start (against the Braves?) but I already adressed Wang's performance. The bullpen also came through big. Phil Hughes continued to establish himself as a reliable bullpen arm with another two shutout innings. In the bullpen he can rely solely on his fastball and curveball rather than being forced to rely on his weaker pitches like his changeup and cutter.

So that's it for the pitching, the real problem was the incredible lack of offense. For the first eight innings nothing happened. Robinson Cano (who may be starting to heat up a bit) hit a solo homer for their only run but besides that they didn't give Yankees fans much to root for, A-Rod got some boos but that's not even notable anymore. Of course, as these Yankees always seem to do. They came alive in the 9th. Johnny Damon led off the inning with a home run to bring the score to 3-2. Thus waking up all of the sleeping Yankee fans at the stadium and nearly inciting a comeback win. Mark Teixeira hit a single with one out and Brett Gardner pinch ran for him. After two stolen bases Gardner ended up on third for Alex Rodriguez with only one out. Instead of getting teh walkoff home run everybody at the stadium was expecting though, he works a walk. Setting up a game ending double play from Robinson Cano.

Another ugly loss but at 1:00 today they have a chance to reverse that. Win today and everybody forgets about it.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Wang Survives

I know this game isn't over but I wanted to get a post out on Wang as soon as possible. I know the final line doesn't look that great but he pitched just well enough to earn himself one more start. Obviously, the line of three runs in five innings is decent enough to probably merit another start on its own. A K/BB of 4:2 is also solid, particularly for Wang. However, what stands out to me is that he was keeping the ball on the ground again. He got twelve of the batters he faced to hit grounders and only two managed to get the ball in the air. That's much closer to vintage Wang than the 39:23 ratio he has on the season.

Not a really great start but it marks a huge improvement for Wang and if he can turn things around, this start is going to be remembered as the first step in the right direction. He was a borderline ace a year ago and its tough to give up on him.

Now hopefully the Yanks have another late innings come back in them tonight.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Veras DFA'ed for Bruney

I forgot to post this earlier but better late than never I guess. Basically this gives the Yankees a couple days to trade Veras or he gets the choice between AAA and free agency. At least that's what I think. Anyway, this is the first step in fixing this bullpen.

Yankees Win

For a little while it looked like the Yankees were going to blow this one. Nobody was surprised when they pulled this one out though. Aside from the Yankees many comeback wins this year, Washington's bullpen is absurdly bad. I really feel bad for the National's few fans, if Ron Villone is pitching key innings for you, you're in big trouble.

C. C. Sabathia turned in another nice start today. The only mistake he made was the home run he gave up to Anderson Hernandez. However, he went deep into the game again and gave up only three runs. It was a long time before he gave up his one walk of the night. The only concern I have is that he only K'ed two guys. So far C. C. has been good and a big innings eater. However, not the ace we have hoped for. Hopefully, he will repeat his second half surge of last year, to some degree. The return of Brian Bruney to get the last out of the eighth was notable and Mariano turned in a typical 1-2-3 inning for the save.

Cano hasn't been hitting lately much at all lately but today may mark the start of a turnaround. If he could get going it would be huge for the Yankees and any time a guy goes 4-4 its a good day. His double at the end of the game essentially put the game away. Texeira also made some nice stretches in the field in contrast to his Washinton counterpart, Nick Johnson, and blasted a HIGH double to left center.

All in all, a nondescript win for the Yankees but still a if they lost it would have put them three behind Boston. Nobody wants to blow the series opener against Washington at home either.

6/16-Nationals at Yankees: Game 64

YANKEES (36-27)
  1. Jeter SS
  2. Damon LF
  3. Teixeira 1B
  4. Rodriguez 3B
  5. Cano 2B
  6. Posada C
  7. Matsui DH
  8. Swisher RF
  9. Cabrera CF
LHP CC Sabathia (5-4, 3.68).
Last appearance:
6/11 at BOS
7.0 IP, 4 ER/Dec = Loss

  1. Guzman DH
  2. Johnson 1B
  3. Zimmerman 3B
  4. Dukes CF
  5. Dunn LF
  6. Kearns RF
  7. Gonzalez SS
  8. Nieves C
  9. Hernandez 2B
RHP Shairon Martis (5-1, 5.04).
Last appearance:
6/10 vs CIN
7.0 IP, 2 ER/Dec = ND

TIME: 7:05
TV: MY9.

C.C. vs Nats should = WIN

Monday, June 15, 2009

Move Alan Horne to the Bullpen

The Yankees pitching staff, thought to be a strength heading into 2009, has been among the worst in Major League Baseball thus far. Both the bullpen and the rotation have experienced significant struggles, and there appears to be a dire lack of "sure things" in either. Rivera has faltered, Sabathia has been up and down, and everyone between the team's two aces has been hurt, inconsistent, or both. 

In my mind, the rotation will sort itself out. The Yankees Major League roster has seven pitchers capable of starting, with Wang, Hughes, and Aceves deserving a look for the fifth and final spot. Personally, I would like to see Hughes there (as I believe he is ready, and needs to take his lumps). Wang's velocity would be up in the bullpen, and he would have more time to work on his mechanics, and Aceves has proven to be very valuable in high-leverage situations. 

The bullpen, then, is my concern. I believe that Melancon and Robertson need to stay on the roster, and Veras needs to go. I do see another pitcher that should get a look, though, that has skirted under the radar - and that is the titular Alan Horne.

Horne has been in the Yankees organization for four seasons now, and has been ineffective for three. He is injury-prone and inconsistent, and his stuff has suffered a bit following his second major arm-surgery last season. At 26, this trend is unlikely to reverse itself, leaving Horne's value as minimal, at best. I believe that, much like Phil Coke, Horne could be a very good reliever.

For those of you that don't know much about Horne, he is a power pitcher, and his mechanics leave him very prone to injury. At the same time, though, this makes him an ideal reliever. His velocity peaks at 95 in the rotation, his power slider and hard curve have been rated between average and plus, and he has a surprisingly effective change-up. He struggles with control at times, and his fastball sits below 90 at times. In the bullpen, Horne's velocity would likely increase, he would be less likely to strain himself with high pitch-counts, and he may be able to help the team fairly soon.

In the end, there's no real reason not to make the move with Horne. I dislike giving up on starting pitchers, but Horne has fallen behind several other prospects, and it seems unlikely that he will be able to right the ship at 26. That being said, he has the stuff to be a light's-out reliever, and it could very well save his career.

Bullpen Moves

TheYankees are in pretty good shape right now. They're only two games behind Boston for the division and three games ahead of the Angels, Toronto, and Tampa for the Wild Card. If not for their miserable record against the Red Sox, they'd be sitting on top of the AL East with a comfortable lead. However, they have some obvious flaws and we're at the point in the season were the sample sizes are starting to become large enough for some use.

Its pretty obvious that some players are just not getting the job done and their are other guys languishing away in the minor leagues, waiting for a shot. Jose Veras, Phil Coke (more on him later), and Brett Tomko have just been awful. Replacing them with a few guys that can actually pitch would go a long way towards solving our bullpen issues.

First of all, we have the obvious. Brian Bruney will make his return tomorrow and if he can pitch anything like he did last year and the start of this year, he will quickly find his way back to the eight inning role (although I could change my mind tomorrow on that). I have high hopes for Bruney and believe that he, not Melancon or Joba, will be the next Yankees closer. His fastball velocity has steadily been rising over the years and at 27, is in the prime of his career.

Next is Mark Melancon to most Yankees fans he is the heir apparent to Mariano Rivera. I was calling for his promotion last September and now I definitely think he's ready. He didn't really get much of a shot in his brief ML stint this year but I think with time he will establish himself as a reliable cog in that bullpen. Anthony Claggett and Edwar Ramirez would also be in line for this spot.

Finally, we need a guy that can go multiple innings to take Tomko's place. That guy, for me, is Sergio Mitre. He has two good starts under his belt now in AAA and about nine innings of A ball in which he posted an FIP of 2.45. In his last ML stint in Florida, since then he's been hurt, he posted a deceptively high, but still solid, ERA of 4.65. I say deceptively high because his FIP was two ticks under four.

I doubt Coke will go because his ERA is low and he has earned Girardi's trust but Tomko and Veras for Mitre and Bruney would be an excellent trade off. I really don't care how good Veras' stuff is, he doesn't get outs and that's the bottom line.

BTW, this is the 1,000th post on the Chuck Knoblog. Its come a long way since I first joined Charlie and Nate back in August of last year and even longer since Nate launched the latest and greatest unnecesary Yankees blog. Its been great and I hope we can keep going for another 1,000 posts.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Sergio Mitre's Return

One of the quiet signings that Cashman and co. made last winter was Sergio Mitre. Back when they first signed him I made a post saying he had some potential to be a solid fill in for them. Well, now with Pettitte and Wang both struggling and Ian Kennedy hurt their may be a need for him. He was suspended for violating the PED policy for the first chunk of the year but now he's pitching for Scranton. His first start was excellent and if the rotation continues to have problems, look for him to get a call-up.

Just What We Needed

This season, days like today have been rare and after a week of throwing things at my television a blowout victory was very welcome. The team's recen troubles are probably the only reason I stuck around to soak up this one. The offensive heroes (against Johan Santana!) today were far to many so I'll just skip right to the pitching.

A.J. Burnett finally showed fans why he's getting paid all that money. Anytime your starter goes seven innings without giving up a run, you've got to be happy. Other than the top of the third he really had no trouble at all. That one inning ended up being huge though. If you remember, the score was 4-0 at the time and A.J. loaded the bases with nobody out. Had he given it away their, then he might have been out the game early this post might be lamenting the horrorshow that is Brett Tomko. He got through it though with two of his eight K's and gave the Yankees the length they needed so desperately today.

We then got treated to two pitchers who deserve to be a much bigger part of the bullpen then they currently are. David Robertson and Phil Hughes combined for two shutout innings with 2 K's each and no BB's. Tomorrow is an off day and the Yankees will look forward to a series against the Nationals, in which a sweep is a real possibility if Chien Ming Wang can find himself in what probably amounts to a last chance for him.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Where is Swisher's Gold Glove?

When Swisher first got traded to the Yankees we didn't really know where he was going to play, I originally saw him as a centerfielder. Wherever he was though, his defense was exciting to me and most other Yankees fans who knew him. His bat was the concern, although most expected him to come back to his old self. Well, he has not dissapointed at the plate. Nick carried the struggling team early on and has gone through periods of hotness and coldness since then. However, his misplays in the outfield have caused some Yankees fans to want to smash their TV's. So, why is Nick still making these mistakes?

The Bleich Watch

Bleich is slowly establishing himself as a streaky pitcher. He goes through bad patches were he makes me wish we'd picked Zack McAllister for this feature but he also goes through periods were he is really exciting. He followed up one solid start with a dominating performance of shutout innings. His K/BB was 4:1and his GB/FB was 11-6. Very nice job by Bleich to give him twelve consecutive shutout innings. His ERA is 3.58 and more importantly his FIP is down to 3.41. Hopefully, he can build on some of this success.


Thursday, June 11, 2009

10 Good Things That Happened the Past Three Days.

Stay positive guys.
  1. Papelbon didn't jackoff/fistpump once!
  2. Brett Tomko didn't give up a single run!
  3. Chien Ming Wang's ERA is down all the way to 14.34
  4. Mo didn't blow a save!
  5. No Jobber to the bullpen controversy!
  6. Ortiz doesn't hit anybody else anymore!
  7. Soon Brad Penny will be replaced in Boston's rotation by John Smoltz.
  8. Kei Igawa is dominating AAA.
  9. Carl Pavano is finally healthy and pitching well!
  10. We had an opportunity to draft Tanner Scheppers!

Will We Ever Beat the Red Sox Again?

Coming into this series the Yankees were riding pretty high. They seemed like a new team. After another sweep at the hands of the Red Sox the Yankees are suddenly stripped of any sort of identity. They have somehow managed to lose eight straight (nine?) to their biggest rival and yet remain only one game behind them. They are a confusing team to say the least. They trotted out what some called the best 1-2-3 punch in baseball before the season for this series and still got crushed. Burnett, who was brought in to kill the Red Sox, has done nothing all year and hardly reversed that trend. The only reason people aren't calling for his head is that he's been overshadowed by Wang, who's been covered extensively. Then C.C. Sabathia finally turned in a good performance but was victimized by a thin bullpen and nonexistent offense against Brad Penny.

They have until August before they play Boston again. By that time this team is going to look a lot different. They need to figure things out by then. I really hate to find myself agreeing with Steve Lombardi, but these Yankees don't look like they can handle the AL's top teams. I mean, David Ortiz is getting hits against us. Hopefully, they can just go out and get a win tomorrow.

6/11-Yankees at Red Sox: Game 60

YANKEES (34-25)
  1. Jeter SS
  2. Damon LF
  3. Teixeira 1B
  4. Rodriguez 3B
  5. Cano 2B
  6. Swisher RF
  7. Matsui DH
  8. Cabrera CF
  9. Cervelli C
LHP CC Sabathia (5-3, 3.56)
6/06 vs TAM
8.0 IP, 4 ER/Dec = ND

  1. Pedroia 2B
  2. Drew RF
  3. Youkilis 1B
  4. Bay LF
  5. Lowell 3B
  6. Ortiz DH
  7. Varitek C
  8. Baldelli CF
  9. Green SS
RHP Brad Penny (5-2, 5.85)
6/05 vs TEX
5.2 IP, 5 ER/Dec = Loss

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Is Wang Finished?

The question that's been on everybody's mind since the start of the season. He's been awful by any sense of the word. He's shown absolutely no signs this year of being the front line guy he has been for the Yankees. Without factoring in tonight's start his numbers are godawful. His ERA is sky high over 14 and his FIP is at 6.00. Everything that can be wrong with a pitcher is wrong with Wang right now. he's giving up home runs, failing to strike guys out, giving up hits, and can't even induce the amount of GB's he has in the past.

Its really inexplicable for me. We know why they're getting hits/runs off of him. The Pitch F/X data clearly shows his sinker isn't sinking and that his control is off. Why though? How does somebody who was so good just a year ago come to this, at age 29? This is a major concern for the Yankees going forward. I really don't think he's done. I have to imagine that he's hurt or something because a guy like that just doesn't forget how to pitch. However, he's given us plenty of a reason to worry. Not to be overly dramatic, but Wang's next start is huge for him. If he fails again, expect another DL trip for him.

Wang coming up with Cano in 2005 was a big part of forcing the Yankees move to rebuilding their farm system. I've always loved watching him pitch and have defended him as much as I possibly could in past years to doubters. The Yankees have to be close to pushing the panic button on him though.

Pitching: The Key to the Draft

Through eighteen rounds and sixteen picks, the Yankees draft is as follows:

  1. Slade Heathcott, CF
  2. John Murphy, C
  3. Adam Warren, RHP
  4. Caleb Cotham, RHP
  5. Robert Lyerly, 3B
  6. Sean Black, RHP
  7. Samuel Elam, LHP
  8. Gavin Brooks, LHP
  9. Tyler Lyons, LHP
  10. Neil Medchill, LF
  11. Brett Gerritse, RHP
  12. Deangelo Mack, LF
  13. Graham Stoneburner, RHP
  14. Shane Green, RHP
  15. Bryan Mitchell, RHP
  16. Chad Thompson, RHP

In short, I believe that the direction the Yankees have chosen for the draft is fantastic. Great pitching is much harder to come by than great hitting - particularly on the market. The demand for pitching is much higher than the demand for hitting, and the cost of pitching is greater than the cost of hitting. At the core of this is the fact that the attrition rate of pitching is much greater than that of hitters. Most of the well-known busts of the last dozen years or so have been pitchers, and most of the successful teams over that time have developed most of their pitching.

The Yankees began that route in 2006 (with a remarkable draft that included Ian Kennedy, Joba Chamberlain, Zach McAllister, George Kontos, Dellin Betances, Mark Melancon, and David Robertson), and have continued it with this draft, with eleven pitchers drafted thus far. While the Sabathia and Burnett signings run counter to this strategy, let's not forget that Wang and Chamberlain are in the rotation, Hughes is set to take over for Pettitte, and the bullpen is mostly homegrown. By the time Sabathia and Burnett are done in pinstripes (for whatever reason), the Yankees should have the depth to make up for their losses.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Summarizing Day One

The Yankees made two draft picks today; Slade Heathcott at 29 and JR Murphy at 76. Heatcott is a 5 tool centerfielder who should sign for a reasonable bonus. The Yankees are getting good value with pick, though Heathcott was likely not the best player on the board. That distinction belongs to Tanner Scheppers. However, there are many experts who believe that Scheppers' future is in the bullpen. If the Yankees believe that is the case, then I have no problem with their selection of Heathcott, who has a high ceiling as a centerfielder, and a decent fallback plan as a left-handed pitcher. Murphy is a guy I had never heard of before the draft. In my ten minutes of research I have heard that he has been climbing towards the top of a deep group of Florida high school catchers. There were probably better high school catchers out there, like Max Stassi and Luke Bailey, but Murphy is still a solid prospect, with a chance to be an above-average big league catcher, which is very valuable. I think the Yankees played it relatively safe on the first day of the draft, which makes sense as these two picks are not protected. These two guys should sign relatively cheaply, leaving the Yankees plenty of room to snag some late-round signability cases.

6/9-Yankees at Red Sox: Game 58

YANKEES (34-23)
  1. Derek Jeter SS
  2. Johnny Damon DH
  3. Mark Teuxeira 1B
  4. Alex Rodriguez 3B
  5. Robinson Cano 2B
  6. Jorge Posada C
  7. Nick Swisher LF
  8. Melky Cabrera RF
  9. Brett Gardner CF
RHP A.J. Burnett (4-2, 4.69).Last appearance:
6/02 vs TEX/7.0 IP, 3 ER
Dec = Win

RED SOX (33-24)
  1. Dustin Pedroia 2B
  2. J.D. Drew RF
  3. Kevin Youkilis 1B
  4. Jason Bay LF
  5. Mike Lowell 3B
  6. David Ortiz DH
  7. Jason Varitek C
  8. Mark Kotsay CF
  9. Nick Green SS
RHP Josh Beckett (6-2, 4.09).Last appearance:
6/03 at DET
7.2 IP, 0 ER/Dec = Win

Game Time: 7:05
TV: My9

Draft Day

The next three days are going to be a perfect storm for New York baseball. The Yankees have a big three game set coming up with Boston, the Mets are playing the Phillies, and the draft will be going on the next few days. Theirs a ton of names swirling around the Yankees and this whole draft seems like its going to be very unpredictable. David Renfroe, Slade Heathcott, and Tommy Joseph have all been linked to the Yankees. Theirs also the chance they blow the budget on a big pitcher like Purke.

Personally, I'm going to have to go with the same hopes as Nomaas. Joseph in the first round and Renfroe in the second. I know you go best player available but I'm concerned about what comes after Posada's done which won't be long now. Montero is crushing the ball right now but who knows if he can stay behind the plate. Besides, this year's pick in unprotected and I don't want to see them lose it on a guy like Purke. I wouldn't object to Heathcott or a similar outfielder though. David Renfroe would be a steal in the second round. This organization lacks a true SS prospect. Carmen Angelini has been a bust of the worst kind and Ramiro Pena can't hit for his life. I'll probably be over at RAB and Nomaas for most of the draft so feel free to join me there.

EDIT 7:46 PM: I've had a sudden change of heart. Scheppers is my guy.

Monday, June 8, 2009

6/8-Rays at Yankees: Game 57

YANKEES (33-23)
  1. Jeter SS
  2. Damon LF
  3. Teixeira 1B
  4. Rodriguez 3B
  5. Cano 2B
  6. Posada C
  7. Matsui DH
  8. Swisher RF
  9. Cabrera CF
Pitching: LHP Andy Pettitte (5-2, 4.33).

RAYS (29-29)
  1. Upton CF
  2. Crawford LF
  3. Longoria 3B
  4. Pena 1B
  5. Aybar 2B
  6. Zobrist SS
  7. Dillon DH
  8. Kapler RF
  9. Hernandez C
Pitching: RHP Andy Sonnanstine (4-5, 7.07).

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Closing it Out

Solid Job By Bleich

Not great but he did shutout the other team through five innings with a 3:1 K:BB. He gave up five hits though and that's not good. A good start though after some really awful ones.

Potential Signability Cases

Honestly, I know next to nothing about the draft. I'll scan some of the posts on RAB and Nomaas before the draft and I'm aware that Stephen Strasburg is the second coming but that's about it. I still like to know a little and want to pimp this post on Nomaas made on some guys that could fall to the Yankees if they're lucky.

Another Comeback Win

These Yankees have shown some pretty amazing resilience in this short season. They started out slow and got a lot of bad press early on. However, they've charged all the way to first place and could not have done it without some huge late inning, maybe even clutch, comebacks.

What was interesting about today was that nobody really stood out. Alfredo Aceves was the player of the game which can really sum things up. Joba had a good start but faltered towards the end, as young pitchers often do. Three runs in six innings is nothing to sneeze at. However, its not dominating like his last start. Nick Swisher hit a solo shot in the third and nearly made a very nice play in the field. Melky Cabrera's diving catch was also a big moment. However, this was really a team effort.

The big rally came in the bottom of the eighth but it lacked a big hero. With one out and nobody on Damon got things started with a single and Mark Texeira followed things with another hit. Thus setting the stage for Alex Rodriguez. In very un-A-Rod like fashion though he laid off some bad breaking balls and worked a walk. Robinson Cano showed some of his newfound plate disciplince and walked in a run. The next two runs were really a function of some good luck for the Yankees. On a possible DP ball, Akiniori Iwamura booted a ball and let everybody reach safely. This gave Hideki Matsui a shot against J.P. Howell to beat out a double play attempt that would have been an inning ending ground out other wise. That was the end of the scoring for the Yanks but one run was enough for Mariano today.

All this gave Joe Girardi his 200th win as a manager and with a Boston loss today they are now barely in sole possession of first place by a half of a game. The Yankees aren't blowing people away but they're still winning.

Phil Hughes

Do the Yankees actually plan on using Hughes in the bullpen? Its been seven days since he last pitched and it doesn't seem like it. If they're not going to use him then why bother leaving him up in the ML's?

Saturday, June 6, 2009

McAllister's ERA- 1.61

After 7.2 shutout innings today. That's jsut ridiculous man. He should be getting a callup to AAA any day now and coul see the ML's by year's end.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Dead Sexy

"I approve"

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Yankees Overtake Rangers in the Bronx

This was Wang's best start of the season; he gave up 5 runs. However they are going to keep the Wanger in the rotation, he will face the Sox on Thursday. Wang said: “I can do better”, I sure do hope so. You can't just keep switching the rotation around so hopefully this will get things back to normal. So with Wang back in the rotation we have to make room so we are sending Hughes to the pen.

Joe had this to say:
"I thought he pitched better than his numbers indicated, I'm not making excuses, I was happy with what I saw. I know people are going to say, 'Oh boy, he gave up five runs."

As you can see the Yankees mounted a great comeback.

Melky's two-run home run in the eighth inning, his fifth go-ahead hit in the eighth inning or later this season, gave the Yankees their sixth win in their last eight games.

I was at this game, by the way. Very exciting..

A cool fact: A home run has been hit in all 26 games at the New Stadium

Apparently Cashman is a Reader

Hughes to the bullpen!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Jesus Promoted To Trenton

After two months of .967 OPS ball in hi-A Tampa, Jesus Montero has been promoted to AA Trenton. That makes him a 19 year-old playing in AA, which is almost unheard of. He was one of the younger players in the Florida State League, and now he is in the high minors. The move was made partly due to his hot hitting but also because the Yankees want both Jesus and Austin Romine to catch every day. Romine will stay in Tampa as Jesus works on his defense in Trenton. I would expect him to continue to have success at the plate, but he really needs to concentrate on his defense behind the plate so he can stay at catcher. This move is very exciting for Jesus and for me, becuase now I can go see him play.

Another Rough Start For Bleich

Bleich followed up a bad start with another poor one. In his five innings he gave up six runs, five of them were earned. His K/BB was also unspectacular at 5/3. Still, his FIP is 3.40. He has to get his K/9 a little higher but done well so far.

Monday, June 1, 2009

But Who Will Pitch The Eighth?

Joba. Joba will pitch the eighth. At least tonight anyway. Tonight was arguably Joba's best start since making the conversion to the starting rotation, going eight strong innings, allowing two earned runs, just four hits, two walks, and striking out five. He threw 106 pitches. This is a huge sign of progress for Joba. In previous starts, 106 pitches might get him through 5 or 6 innings but tonight he went eight. That comes out to 4.42 pitches/out, which is very efficient. Perhaps this starts means Joba has learned that you do not need to strike out every batter you face. Strikeouts, groundouts, and a lack of walks are the key to pitching success, and that's what Joba did tonight. Two walks in eight innings is great, and just five of Joba's outs came in the air. Now, this start likely will not shut up those who want him in the bullpen, but it should. Joba is a 23 year old with a 3.71 ERA in the AL East, and he still has a lot to learn. Those are the ingredients of an ace, not a setup man.

6/1-Yankees at Indians- Game 51

YANKEES (29-21)
  1. Jeter SS
  2. Swisher RF
  3. Teixeira 1B
  4. Rodriguez DH
  5. Posada C
  6. Cano 2B
  7. Cabrera LF
  8. Berroa 3B
  9. Gardner CF
RHP Joba Chamberlain (2-1 3.70).
Last appearance:
5/26 at TEX/4.0 IP, 3 ER
Dec = ND

INDIANS (22-30)
Lineup TBA
LHP Jeremy Sowers (1-2, 7.71)
Last appearance:
5/25 vs TAM/5.0 IP, 0 ER
Dec = Win

TIME: 7:05

A Pitching Surplus

Here's my crazy idea for the day. I've been tossing this idea around in my head for a while but the time has never been right for it. The Yankees right now have a very brief but valuable starting pitching surplus. Burnett, Sabathia, and Pettitte of course have spots set in the rotation, leaving three guys for one hole. The Yankees are going to have to figure out what to do with Wang, Joba, and Hughes. First of all, lets rule out Joba to the bullpen. Of the three he's pitched best in the rotation and he was a bonafide number one starter last year. So, this leaves Hughes and Wang battling for one spot. We can leave Wang in the bullpen and keep Hughes in the rotation, send Hughes to AAA and move Wang to the bullpen, or put Hughes in the bullpen and move Wang to the rotation. Right now, I think that's the best move for the Yankees.

Hopefully, this would not be a permanent move for Phil but it makes sense in the short term for a few reasons which I'll adress in quick and easy bulleted form.
  • He clearly has nothing left to prove in AAA. Minor leaguers are helpless against him and their's nothing left to learn from that level. This way he can build up his innings totals and still get valuable ML experience.
  • Wang had been one of the best pitchers in baseball for three years straight before getting hurt last year. Since he's come back he seems to have found himself again and does not belong wasting away in the bullpen.
  • Hughes has been mediocore thus far in the rotation. He has shown flashes of greatness but, like most 23 year olds, has been inconsistent. Their is no reason to believe he is any better than any of the Yankees' other five starters right now.
  • The bullpen needs some help from somewhere. Having another guy, in addition to Aceves, that can go multiple innings in a big spot would be huge. Hughes has been mediocore in the rotation but mediocore starters often dominate in the bullpen.

Keep in mind, this would be a very temporary solution. Somebody will get hurt eventually and Hughes can then switch back into the rotation. Even if nobody gets hurt, this would be a one year solution until a spot opens up next year. Its worth a shot and I think it would solve a lot of the Yankees' problems. Thoughts?

The Bullpen

With the exception of Jose Veras, who has been consistently bad, inconsistency has plagued the Yankees bullpen for the first two months of this season. While the month of May resulted in better overall numbers for the bullpen, I cannot help but dig my nails into the chair whenever Girardi heads towards the mound, regardless of the situation. This sense of dread has been pervasive whenever any non-Rivera reliever takes the mound, and even the Sandman has struggled a bit this season.

With roughly one-third of the season on the books, we are at an awkward point in terms of gauging what needs to be done. While each player has over one-hundred games left to turn himself around, this first chunk of the season provides a fair sample size for projection, with some accounting for regressions and progressions. Given that the bullpen's performance declined after the All-Star Break last season, I believe that it is reasonable to say that some change is necessary.

The Keepers:
  • Mariano Rivera - Well, duh.
  • Alfredo Aceves - I trust Aceves in high-leverage situations. He's smart, and his starting experience should allow him to come in at any point in the game and pitch for however long is necessary. I view him as a less erratic Ramiro Mendoza.
  • Edwar Ramirez - Inconsistent, but effective against righties and lefties. Notwithstanding Girardi using him for 3.1 IP on 9 May, Ramirez has been excellent since the end of April.
  • David Robertson - Great in the minors, he has nothing left to prove at Triple-A.

The Losers:

  • Jose Veras - He has a 5.90 ERA since August 2008, and has been awful in every situation thus far this season. While his stuff is solid, the Yankees appear to have much better options.
  • Damaso Marte - While bad luck is partially to blame for his struggles, Marte hasn't done much to encourage Yankees fans, either. Between his lack of production and Girardi's inconsistent use of him, this may be addition by subtraction.
  • Jonathan Albaladejo - He has middling stuff, middling control, and a fairly extensive injury history. His lack of results make this a fairly easy decision.
  • Brett Tomko - Tomko is a decent option to have in the minors, but he doesn't belong on a major league roster - particularly one with Wang and Aceves... and even one with just Aceves.

The Final Two:

  • Mark Melancon - While I think he could still use a bit of seasoning at Triple-A, I also believe that he is better than at least three pitchers currently on the roster. It's just a matter of time, I suppose.
  • Phil Coke - I see him and Ramirez as nearly interchangeable, with Coke having a higher upside. I prefer Ramirez for the time being, as Coke is less consistent, but I believe there is a great deal of value in having both, due to their effectiveness against righties and lefties.
  • Brian Bruney - He's injured now, and I didn't list him as a keeper due to his injury history and bouts with inconsistency. That being said, a healthy Bruney has the chance to be a fantastic set-up reliever, and with a bit of health he'll find himself right below Rivera.
  • Kei Igawa - The Yankees need to get their value somehow... Igawa's been very good in the minors, and seems to be strong his first time through a line-up.

I didn't consider Hughes or Wang here, as I believe that Hughes will head down when Wang is deemed healthy (and justifiably so). I hope to see Hughes fill Pettitte's spot in the rotation in 2010, and I think consistent work at Triple-A will be better than inconsistent relief appearances in working towards that goal.

In the end, I think the Yankees could be very strong with a six-man bullpen. Things are questionable after Rivera, but I have faith in the talents of those pitchers that I want to keep around, and think they can help the Yankees immensely with a bit of consistency.