Daily Archives: February 27, 2013

‘Gardy’s Party’ continues but Yanks fall 10-7 vs. Orioles

We’re five games into Spring Training, and after winning the first game, the Yankees lost four in a row, including today’s debacle in which the Yankees have five errors on the day. Now, we’re going to recap this game like one gigantic sandwich (thank you Family Guy for the idea). We’re going to start off with something good, say what the Yankees did wrong and end with something good.

Something Good:

Brett GardnerIt’s only been five games of Spring Training but Brett Gardner looked in top shape. As a matter of fact, he’s one of the best hitters in Spring Training up to this point. Gardner went 1-for-2 with a walk, but the hit he had was a big one at the time. The Yankees were down 7-1 in the second. The bases were loaded, there were two out and Gardner came to the plate. Yankees fans were expecting a RISP fail, but Gardner delivered a three-run triple, giving the Yankees some life, and closing the gap at that point in the game. I don’t know what Gardner did differently during the offseason, but he better keep it up.

Something bad:

Robinson CanoRobbie Cano has looked absolutely, positively lost. After hitting a HR in his first game of the Spring, Cano seems to be swinging at almost anything. Cano was 0-for-3, bringing his average down to .167. Now, we all know that Spring Training means nothing, but Robbie looked just as lost during the playoffs last season. So technically since October 3 of last season, he’s looked lost. We’re not going to worry just yet, but this is beginning to look frightening.

Yanks had five errors: Yes, this game was absolutely horrendous with the five errors in the game today. Now, we know it’s a Spring Training game, but that was just really, really bad. Let’s hope we never see something like that again. And I can almost bet you, this game won’t be a Yankees Classic.

Nik TurleyNik Turley might of had nerves, which might of explained how he let eight of the nine batters in the lineup step to the plate in the first inning, allowing five runs before recording the first out of the game–who happened to be the eighth batter in the lineup. The Yankees had seen enough, took Turley out of the game and called in Cody Eppley who did a decent job, although he allowed two runs the inning after.

Something good:

Mark MontgomeryThe pitcher who could possibly be dubbed the “next David Robertson” certainly impressed after pitching a scoreless inning for the team. His breaking ball was pretty nasty and although he gave up a walk (he’s human), he was able to easily get out of the walk. It was simply, magical.

WHAT’S NEXT: 

The Yankees play a Split Squad tomorrow, where most of the starters will stay at GMS Field and a handful of players will go on a road-trip  The Yankees play both the Toronto Blue Jays and the Houston Astros and both games will be televised  The Yankees/Blue Jays game will be on YES Network and the Houston Astros/Yankees game will be on Astro’s television. Both games will be at 1:o5 p.m.

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Veterans Need to Step Up Without Granderson

 

With Curtis Granderson out for the next 10 weeks, everybody has been wondering who will replace him. There are a wide range of candidates from veterans Juan Rivera and Matt Diaz to younger players like Ronnie Mustelier, Zolio Almonte, Melky Mesa and Thomas Neal. No matter who fills in for Granderson, they will not replace his power or productivity. They just need whoever the replacement is to be a serviceable player for about a month until Granderson gets back. The key to surviving without Granderson is more about the other players in the lineup stepping up, rather than who Granderson’s replacement will be or what that replacement does.

Robinson Cano, Mark Teixeira, Brett Gardner, Ichiro Suzuki, Kevin Youkilis and Travis Hafner have to be healthy and productive until Granderson returns around the beginning of May. You could throw Derek Jeter in there as well, but you don’t really know what to expect in April from him coming off his broken ankle.

Cano and Texeira have the ability to carry the Yankees when they are hot. If either one of them have a red hot April, the Yankees should not miss Granderson too much. Both players are playing for their respective countries in the WBC, so maybe that will help them get off to a fast start, as they will be having at-bats in a competitive situation early. This could particularly help Teixeira, as he has been a notoriously slow starter in April throughout his career.

Cano and Teixeira were keys for the Yankees season to begin with because of the losses of Nick Swisher, Russell Martin, Raul Ibanez and Eric Chavez. Now the pressure on them is ratcheted even more in April without Granderson. Cano just needs to repeat his season from last season, but Teixeira needs to improve on his,

The Yankees need Teixeira to get back to the elite version of himself, rather than the very good, but not elite player he has been since 2009. His batting average will probably never be around .300 again, but an average around .275 with his power and RBI production would be great. His walk % was a career low 10.3% last season, which is something Teixeira should also improve on. They need his OPS back around .900 and his wOBA back around .400. Those numbers are more important than the batting average.

While Cano or Teixeira getting hot in April could help carry the Yankees without Granderson, Hafner and Youkilis could help a great deal in a short period of time. They will never have the same production as Cano or Teixeira over the full season, but the point here is that they only need a few people to get hot for a month without Granderson. Hafner and Youkilis have those capabilities.

First of all, Hafner and Youkilis must be on the field, as those two have combined to take an astonishing nine trips to the DL over the last three seasons between the two of them. Youkilis already was scratched from yesterday’s game due to a sore oblique, although it does not appear to be serious.

When healthy, Hafner had four outstanding seasons for Cleveland from 2004-2007, but since then the highest number of games he has played in a season is 118. Hafner still has solid power and the short porch in right field should be very inviting for him. He could easily get on a power surge in April to help offset some of Granderson’s lost power.

Youkilis does not have the power that Hafner does, but he can certainly get hot and be a key player for the Yankees without Granderson. He had two warning track fly balls and a line out to third in Sunday’s spring training game, so it appears he might be seeing the ball well early. Youkilis made some swing changes with Kevin Long over the winter, so it will be interesting to see how they impact him early in the season. Youkilis already has the responsibility of replacing Alex Rodriguez, but he has to be apart of the puzzle that replaces Granderson in April as well. Youkilis had a terrible year for him last season, but he is not far removed from solid production in 2011 (.258/.373/.459/.833) and elite production in 2010 (.307/.411/.564/.975), so hopefully he can get back to something close to either of those years again.

Gardner and Ichiro will have to step up in April for the Yankees to field a competitive outfield. It’s obviously extremely early, but Gardner and Ichiro are hitting .667 in their two Spring Training games. Their speed will be counted on more than ever, as will their defense to help prevent runs because the Yankees will not score as many. They can create runs via stolen bases and hit-and-runs, which the Yankees will need to do without Granderson. As the probable leadoff hitter vs. righties, Gardner will also have to keep his OBP at a very good rate.

The Yankees have a small margin for error this season, so they will have to keep afloat without Granderson. Brian Cashman has shown patience in these situations in the past, so he is unlikely to go out and overpay somebody to replace Granderson for a month.  Granderson leads MLB in home runs the last two years, so nobody they replace him with will be capable of putting up his numbers. They will need the established players on their team to step up their performances in April to compensate for the loss of Granderson.

Spring Training 2/27/13 Lineup

Brett Gardner LF
Jayson Nix SS
Robinson Cano 2B
Juan Rivera DH
Dan Johnson 1B
Zoilo Almonte RF
Slade Heathcott CF
Chris Stewart C
Corban Joseph 3B

LHP Nik Turley

Start Time: 1:05 p.m.
T.V.: YES Network

Morning Bits: Joba want’s to be a starter, Nunez to stay at SS, No Damon return and more….

mug3Good morning all let’s get right to the links….

David Waldstein of The New York Times writes that the Yankees don’t plan on moving Nunez nor bringing back Damon.

– Let’s see how much this will be talked about this week.   Wallace Matthews writes that Joba want’s to start.   He feels he has the pitches to be a starter.

Hal Bodley of MLB.com writes that it’s a season of uncertainty for the New York Yankees this year.

Since J.R. Murphy had that homerun yesterday I went with a video of him this morning.   This is from last year from the YES NETWORK.  ENJOY.

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