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2012 Yankees: Keep Em’ or Dump Em’?

It had been a long, trying season for the Yankees where so much has happened. Yankees have lost Mariano Rivera, Derek Jeter, at a point lost Brett Gardner, David Robertson, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, suffered through hitting slumps by Russell Martin, Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson and a surprisingly good regular season by Nick Swisher. But the Yankees didn’t realize that the season doesn’t end after 162 games and fell flat against the Detroit Tigers in the ALCS and will now spend their offseason trying to piece it all together. The Yankees have to make decisions before the 2013 offseason, but if you were the GM of the Yankees who would you keep and who would you dump? Infield

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How should the 2012 postseason roster look?

Right around the corner is the most exciting time of the year for any team—the postseason. While there are teams that have clinched their spot in the postseason, there are teams like the Yankees that are so close to clinching that they could taste it. However, they still have to battle to stay in 1st place in the American League East. While it is almost certain that the Yankees will be in another postseason, the Yankees have other things on their minds as in after they clinch a spot. What will they be doing? They will be preparing their 2012 ALDS roster (if they are in first place by the end of the season). After observing the Yankees for a while, I decided to compile a list of who would make the 25-man roster for the ALDS series against what looks to be the Detroit Tigers. (Statistics are as of the morning of September 28, 2012).

Infield

Derek Jeter (2012 Season: .318 AVG, 15 HR, 57 RBI): Of course, you cannot be in the postseason without the Captain Derek Jeter. Jeter has had a phenomenal year and will end the year with an average over .300. The last time Jeter finished with an average over .300 was in 2009. How did that end out for the Yankees? Jeter had silenced the critics and had done his thing, but can he continue into the postseason and lead the Yankees to another championship?

Robinson Cano (2012 Season: .300 AVG, 30 HR, 82 RBI): Robinson Cano is one of the best second baseman in the game and he knows how to hit. While Cano has been up and down this year, he has been consistent defensively and can help Yankees pitching by preserving runs and getting double plays with a flick of a wrist. He makes that pivot to first base better than any second baseman than I have seen. Cano was one of the very few Yankees who had a hot bat during last year’s ALDS (along with Jorge Posada and Brett Gardner respectively), so it would be nice to see Cano get on a tear.

Mark Teixeira (2012 Season: .255 AVG, 23 HR, 81 RBI): Comparing Teixeira’s numbers from 2011 and from this year, this year has not been Teixeira’s best. But can you blame the guy? He has been sidelined with a Grade 1 strained calf. While he will make the roster for the play-offs, I doubt he will be 100 percent healthy. Teixeira also is one of the few culprits that seem to mysteriously lose his hitting talents in the play-offs. He needs to have a hot and consistent bat in the play-offs or else it could be an early exit for the Yankees—again.

Alex Rodriguez (2012 Season: .276 AVG, 18 HR, 56 RBI): Now, if the stats were for another player say maybe Eduardo Nunez, Chris Dickerson or Brett Gardner that would be a hell of a year. Unfortunately, it is for the guy that the Yankees gave a lucrative contract that last for another 5 years and did not hit the way that the Yankees were expecting. A-Rod is going to make the roster…but all season he has looked terribly lost at the plate. He is also another culprit that has not hit in the postseason in recent years (no, I am not counting 2009). A-Rod needs to get his act together and very quickly or else…you know. A first round exit for the Yankees.

Russell Martin (2012 Season: .209 AVG, 19 HR, 49 RBI): So this hasn’t been Russell Martin’s best year offensively (the 19 HR’s make the .209 AVG look less hideous) but the reason he makes the postseason roster is because of his defense. He also has been heating up at the plate as of late which means he could be on a tear any day now. He also was the only one that did not look lost during the ugly 6-0 loss to the Blue Jays on Thursday night, cranking 2 hits off Morrow. Martin could add to the offense, which could be something that the Yankees need.

Who should be on the Yankees 2013 roster?

Some of the Yankees that most likely will make the 2013 roster are Brett Gardner, Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson. But who are the others?

Looking ahead is not a bad thing. The Yankees looked ahead when it came to releasing the 2013 schedule, so why not look ahead to see who could be on the field when you go to a game in 2013. Here is how I picture the Yankees having their alignment of players in 2013.

Let us start in the outfield, shall we? In left field, we have none other than the Yankees speedster Brett Gardner (2012:  .321 AVG, 0 HR, 3 RBI). Now keep in mind that Gardner has only played in nine games and was shut down for the duration of the season due to elbow surgery. Gardner is a catalyst for the Yankees and plays the game Joe Girardi hates to play–small ball. He gets on base, he steals, he bunts and he is one of the best defensive players in baseball. Gardner is arbitration eligible so do not expect there to be much of a fight since Gardner has not played most of the year.

In center field, we have another speedster but he is known for his power bat, Curtis Granderson (2012: .233 AVG, 37 HR, 89 RBI). 2013 is Granderson’s free agent year and after the Kevin Long tutorial in 2010; Granderson has become a home run hitter. Now, Granderson does not hit for singles or doubles (note the .233 average) but he is a power bat, which is something the Yankees could use in the heart of the lineup. What happens after 2013, we do not know but—at least the Yanks could see Granderson’s bat in the lineup in 2013.

In right field, you may be a bit surprised by my choice but I believe Nick Swisher (2012: .258 AVG, 20 HR, 78 RBI) will be in Yankees pinstripes in 2013. Now, why do I think Swisher will be a Yankee? Because along with Swisher’s good bat in the lineup, he has a charming and bubbly personality that would be sorely missed if he ever left the team. The Yankees were a serious bunch before Swisher came along and now the team seems livelier. Swisher has left an imprint on the team—but if Swisher signs with the Yanks, he cannot expect a $100 Million contract. We are still recovering from 3 of those.

In the infield, we have of course the third baseman Alex Rodriguez (2012: .276 AVG, 17 HR, 50 RBI). A-Rod this season is not A-Rod but he has come back a hot hitter since getting off the DL. In addition, A-Rod is stuck with the Yankees until his contract expires in 2018 (Yikes).

At shortstop, we have the Captain Derek Jeter (2012: .323 AVG, 15 HR, 53 RBI) who becomes a free agent in 2014. There is not much to explain about Jeter except for the fact he is having his best year average wise since 2009.

At second base, there is the young Robinson Cano (2012: .299 AVG, 30 HR, 77 RBI) who is by far the Yankees best player. He plays second base so smoothly and has a great pop to his bat. For a person who does not think he has home run power—he is mistaken. He is a home run hitter. That is all.

Finally, to round out the infield, we have Mark Teixeira (2012: .255 AVG, 23 HR, 81 RBI). Teixeira is stuck with us until 2017 and even if the Yankees wanted to trade Teixeira (they do not), they cannot because of Teixeira’s no trade clause. We might as well make the best of it so Tex…we are going to need lots of game winning and World Series winning HR’s until then.

Houdini’s Act Gone Bad

Last night’s game looked like it could have been a season changer for the Yankees. It finally looked like the Orioles were going to turn back into the Orioles and start caving to the Yankees.

They had just managed to blow a 5 run lead in the 8th inning and the Yankees scored all those runs with two outs. The Yankees finally received big hits from their big hitters in Alex Rodriguez and Curtis Granderson. Then, Ichiro Suzuki hit a single past Robert Andino to tie the game. Joe Girardi handed the ball to David Robertson in the 8th ,and in a split second, he turned what could have been the biggest Yankees win of the season into their worst loss.

Last year, Robertson had as good of a season as a reliever can possibly have. Robertson had a 1.08 ERA, a 1.12 WHIP and struck out 13.9 batters per nine innings. Robertson has certainly not had a poor season, but it has been nothing really like last season so far. This year, Robertson has a 2.77 ERA, a 1.21 WHIP and has struck out 11.7 batters per nine innings.  Those numbers are very good for a normal reliever, but do not stack up against his numbers from last season.

There was little chance Robertson could have repeated last season, but what is troubling is how he has gotten considerably worse as the season has gone on.  Through his 17 appearances in August and September Robertson is only striking out 7.95 batters per nine innings. This directly coincides with Robertson abandoning his curveball for reasons nobody knows. During the month of August Robertson has thrown his fastball 80% of the time and his curve 19% of the time. Brooks Baseball does not have the September percentages up yet, but I would imagine they are not much different.  For comparison, during his dominant season last year Robertson threw fastball 77% of the time and his curve 21% of the time. Part of the reason may be because Robertson can’t seem to throw his curve over anymore. Robertson only got 9.09% of his curves called for strikes in August, compared to 14.14% for his career. Also, 54.55% of the curves he threw in August were balls and for his career only 40.12% of his curves have been balls.

Robertson is not of the main reasons for this Yankees collapse, but he certainly has played a role in it. According to William Juliano of The Captains Blog, out of the six Yankee ties or leads Robertson has blown this season four have been against the Rays and Orioles, including two big ones in the last week. Obviously if he didn’t blow some of them the Yankees would have a lead. Now, that is probably being a little hard on him, but if you hold him up to last year’s standard’s he has not lived up to those standards. That’s probably an unfair standard to hold him to, but that is what the Yankees need from him right now.

Robertson is one of the most important Yankees players down the stretch. He is only one of two relief pitchers who can be counted on, so if he doesn’t deliver the Yankees have nobody else to turn to before the ninth inning. Without Houdini’s act returning it could be a long winter in the Bronx.

Week 19 Yankees Players of the Week

The Yankees suffered yet another bad going 3-4 against Cleveland, Toronto, and Baltimore. They had an inexplicable series loss to Toronto after Rafael Soriano blew a save in the 1st game and a combination of bad defense, bad pitching by CC Sabathia and going 3-17 with RISP lost them the 3rd game. They could have made up for it against Baltimore but lost two out of three to them as well, which could very easily have been a sweep if not for an error by J.J. Hardy. This is the 2nd time I can remember this season where nobody is really worthy of player of the week. The Yankee with the highest average this week was Robinson Cano at .250 and there were not really any spectacular pitching performances. The only Yankee who shined this week was David Robertson. He pitched 4.1 innings of scoreless baseball and had holds in all 3 of the Yankees wins. He is your Week 19  Player of the Week. Hopefully next week we can actually have four legitimate candidates again.  They play huge games against Tampa Bay and Baltimore again so a lot of people need to step up more.

Yankees rally to regain 3 game lead over AL East over Orioles

For the first 7 innings, it looked as if the Orioles were in control to finally close the gap of the AL East to one game, leaving the Yankees in shock and despair. However, the game ended up taking an odd twist in the 7th inning where walks were the way to score tying and go ahead runs as the Yankees defeated the Orioles 4-3 to tie the series at one game apiece.

Eduardo Nunez (who joined the roster today) hit an RBI to cut the lead to a one run deficit. Ichiro then followed suit with a walk to load the bases. Derek Jeter didn’t have to do anything fancy to get the run home–he walked. So did Nick Swisher which gave the Yankees a 4-3 lead. 

David Phelps wasn’t sharp but he was able to keep the Yankees in the game throughout 5 innings. It was startling that he gave up 5 walks and hit a batter. Boone Logan took over for 2.2 innings and David Robertson & Rafael Soriano followed. 

The biggest bullet that was dodged (besides the Yankees having a 3 game lead instead of a  1 game lead) was Curtis Granderson. Granderson left the game after he grimaced during his at-bat. His MRI showed he had mild tendinitis and he will most likely play tomorrow, at least that’s what he told reporters. 

“”I didn’t feel a pop or a snap or anything like that. Just something didn’t feel right.” Granderson said. Well Curtis, we’re glad that you’re all right. With A-Rod coming back Monday and Teixeira on Friday, we didn’t need anyone else getting bit by the injury bug. 

– Brandon Laird was claimed off of waivers by the Houston Astros, so there was another Yankee we lost to them. We also lost Justin Maxwell earlier in the year. 

 

Morning Bits: 25 Things to know, Grandy, D-Rob, Swish

Good morning all.   Hope you all had a nice weekend.  As of this morning the Yankees are 4 games up in the division.   The Rays start a series with Texas.  The Yankees start one tonight with Toronto.   First pitch is 7:05PM EST.   On the mound is Phelps vs Romero.
Enjoy the day now for some links…

Jeff Passan of Yahoo sports has 25 things you may not know about baseball this season.   Very interesting article he mentions Jeter in it as well.  Give it a read.

Wallace Matthews of ESPN NY has postgame notes on Grandy, D-Rob, Swish.

Bryan Hoch of MLB.com has news and notes about the Bombers including Granderson hitting his 200th homer, Cano, Pettitte, A-Rod.

Yankees Report Card: July

It’s that time of the month again where we decide which Yankees were at the top of their class and which Yankees just didn’t make the grade in July’s Yankees Report Card. After a stellar June, the Yankees had a so-so July but some Yankees players that were struggling really improved their game and earned a higher grade. If you don’t agree with the grade that any Yankee gets, put the grade that you believe they deserve in the comment section below. Now, onto grading those Yankees!

Derek Jeter (A): Derek Jeter was on fire in the month of July, hitting a .346 average with 37 hits and 7 doubles. Jeter doesn’t hit for power (he only has 1 HR in July) but he has been able to get on base so his fellow teammates can make some damage. Maybe Jeter can continue his hot-streak in August. I know one thing–Derek Jeter is not too old to play baseball.

Curtis Granderson (B+): Curtis Granderson only had a .245 average this month, but he has been the one that has helped pick up this team with 5 HR’s, 10 RBI’s, 2 doubles and 2 triples. Granderson is now required to pair up with Robinson Cano to supply power since A-Rod is currently on the disabled list but if there is anyone that can do it, it’s Curtis Granderson (also, he might be interested in hitting a HR whenever he can since he gets rewarded with ice pops.)

Mark Teixeira (A+): Mark Teixeira had his best month in the month of July with a .298 average. He also had 7 HR’s, 14 RBI’s, 12 walks, 5 doubles and a triple. Teixeira would have normally have gotten an A, but after hitting a HR off Vicente Padilla during the Yankees/Red Sox series, Teixeira deserved a higher mark for 2 reasons. One, he was the bigger man in their rivalry and two, what other way can you say don’t mess with me by hitting a 2 run homer that temporarily tied the game?

Alex Rodriguez (A): The month of July was A-Rod’s best month average wise with a .314 average. His HR and RBI numbers had slightly decreased from June since he only had 2 HR’s, 9 RBI’s, 5 doubles, 1 triple and 1 walk. It seemed as if A-Rod was getting everything together–until Felix Hernandez took that all away with one pitch that hit him in the wrist, thus forcing him to go on the DL for 6-8 weeks. Yankees may not see A-Rod until the end of September, but the Yankees were able to add depth by trading Chad Qualls for Casey McGhee. Let’s see how A-Rod returns: will he be the one that the Yankees can rely on, or will he get into his early season funk once again.

Robinson Cano (A): Robbie Cano has been the one that had carried the Yankees to first place, he had been the one that carried them when they were struggling (even when he was struggling himself) and Robbie Cano continues to carry this team with a .314 average. Cano had 4 HR’s, 14 RBI’s, 5 walks and 6 doubles which proves that even when Robbie gets base hits, a lot of them count for something. Let’s hope Robbie can continue his streak in August (we know he will, he’s Robbie Cano!)

Nick Swisher (B-): Nick Swisher didn’t hit for average in the month of July, only hitting .222 but he could have done more if he wasn’t injured with a strained muscle near his hip. Swisher hit 2 HR’s, 8 RBI’s, and hit 3 doubles all in 63 at-bats. When Nick Swisher is healthy, he is able to change his team. When he’s not healthy, then–the team somewhat misses him. But with Ichiro Suzuki possibly vying for a right field spot next season and this being Swisher’s walk year, he might want to consider getting on a gigantic hot streak. But–Swisher’s smile and personality might win his teammates, the fans and the front office over.

Raul Ibanez (B): One of the best acquisitions of the 2012 season has to have been Raul Ibanez and he continues to prove that he is an important piece to the Yankees bench. In the month of July, Ibanez hit .279 which is his second best month (May was .288). Ibanez has 3 HR’s, 10 RBI’s, 5 walks, and 4 doubles. The one flaw this month from Ibanez was that he struck out 17 times which was the most he struck out in a month this season. As long as Ibanez hit’s HR’s for power, then I don’t care.

Russell Martin (D): Russell Martin continues to struggle at the plate which is making the Yankees scratch their heads. Martin hit .183 in the month of July which means his average is still below the Mendoza line. Martins’ best month? May with a .203 average. I know the Yankees aren’t expecting much out of Russell Martin, but the least he could do is hit! Is it too much to ask? Hopefully August he’ll turn it around?

Andruw Jones (B-): Andruw Jones didn’t hit for average this month, but he played an important part for the Yankees in July. While Jones only hit .218 in the month of May, he did have 5 HR’s, 11 RBI’s, 2 walks and 2 doubles. Jones is an important part to the Yankees when he plays and although his average doesn’t say much, he is always doing something to help his team win.

Chris Stewart (B-): Chris Stewart has been a delightful surprise for the Yankees due to his catching skills and his ability to call a ballgame. Although his bat is nothing to ‘ahh’ over, he has done everything the Yankees wanted (and he has a higher batting average than the primary catcher Russell Martin). Yep, I think that Chris Stewart is going to fit in quite nicely around here.

Jayson Nix (B): Jayson Nix is another pleasant surprise for the Yankees, since he is doing exactly what the Yankees wanted. He plays great defense, he gets base hits when they matter and in July, Nix has shown power. Nix hit 2 HR’s and has 6 RBI’s in the month of July which means when it’s up to him, ‘Nix Knocks’.

Eric Chavez (B+): Chavez continues to prove just how important he is to the Yankees bench and once again, he has done what he has to do. In July he hit a .264 average with 4 HR’s, 9 RBI’s and 7 walks. Chavez is another Yankee that proves that age isn’t anything but a number. Let’s keep it up Chavez, shall we?

CC Sabathia (B-): For the ace of the Yankees, this wasn’t exactly the month that CC Sabathia was hoping for. After being on the disabled list in late June-early July, CC hasn’t exactly came back into form yet. For the month of July he holds a 4.26 ERA and a 1-0 record (he has 2 no decisions). In good news he only gave up 9 runs this month which was his low point during the year. The Yankees expect to see their ace back in August–and we are sure CC expects to see himself return to form as well.

Hiroki Kuroda (B-): Hiroki Kuroda has had worst months in the past, so looking at his numbers here it was pretty good. In the month of July, Kuroda has a 2-0 record and a 3.60 ERA. The good news is that he’s 2-0. The bad? In the month of July he gave up 15 runs (14 of them were earned, but they all count in the game). Kuroda isn’t supposed to be lights out, but he has to get better at stranding runners when there is an error.

Ivan Nova (D): Ivan Nova is usually one of the Yankees youngest and brightest stars on this team, which is why I don’t understand how he could have a 5.97 ERA in the month of July. Nova had seemed to have been getting it together last month, but this month makes everyone question what’s wrong with Nova. Is something wrong with his mechanics? Is he not hitting spots because he’s concerend that the might get hit hard? And why did he give up 27 runs (23 earned)? Nova has to do better in August because if he doesn’t then he could quickly find himself back at Scranton. Remember–he has options.

Freddy Garcia (B-): Now, we aren’t expecting Freddy Garcia to throw shut-outs in each and every game. It’s not going to happen. But the month of July has been a solid month for Garcia after having a 2-3 record and a 4.00 ERA. I know what you’re thinking, a 2-3 record is not solid. It should be if this team is the Yankees. In the 3 starts that he lost, he had given up no more than 4 runs. After going from the bullpen to the starting rotation, Garcia has done okay, but he’s doing well enough to stay in the rotation.

Phil Hughes (B): Phil Hughes has easily been the Yankees best starter in the month of July with a 2-2 record and a 3.09 ERA. Although Hughes’s issue is the home run ball (He gave up 6), he really has done a fantastic job for the Yankees and is definetely looking like the Phil Hughes of 2010. Also, his ERA as a whole is 3.96 which is much better than where he started the season at.

Cody Eppley (B+): In the beginning of the year, it would have been very easy to send Cody Eppley back to Triple A because the Yankees knew they could, but that isn’t the case now. In the month of July, Eppley has a 2.53 ERA while only giving up 4 runs (3 earned) in 10.2 innings pitched. Eppley has become such an important part of the bullpen and is trusted in preserving leads and getting out of situations with his right handed sidearm motion. As we all know, Eppley has been doing his job and he’s fantastic at it.

Clay Rapada (B): We can’t really grade Clay Rapada since he only pitched 4.2 innings in the month of July (the Yankees haven’t really needed him) but only giving up 2 runs isn’t all that bad. Rapada is still an excellent complementary pitcher to Cody Eppley (Rapada has a left handed sidearm motion), and without him the Yankees would only have 1 lefty in the bullpen (Mr. Boone Logan).

David Phelps (A+): The incredible David Phelps has done so much for the Yankees since he came back from Triple-A to get more work in. Phelps in July was known as the pitcher to give the Yankees some length when one of the starters only made it 5-6 innings, and he has stopped the Yankees opponents stone cold. In 13.1 IP, he has a 0.68 ERA while giving up 1 run on 4 hits with 21 strikeouts. Now, I don’t know who the other David Phelps with a 7.36 ERA in June is, but this is more like the David Phelps that we all know.

Boone Logan (D): Boone Logan is easily one of my favorite Yankees (we share the same birthday, so what’s not to like) but no matter how much I like him, I don’t like his numbers for the month of July. In July he has a 9.95 ERA which means in 6.1 IP he gave up 7 runs on 8 hits. That sounds like the starts that some of the starting pitchers have been having, and it’s not pretty. Hopefully Logan can get it together this month and if he can’t–then he’ll just be the lefty that no one can count on, and we don’t want that now do we?

David Robertson (A): David Robertson is once again back into form for the Yankees in the month of July after what seemed like he struggled after coming off the disabled list. Robertson in the month of July had a 1.54 ERA which easily means that Robertson is the pitcher the Yankees can count on before giving the ball to Rafael Soriano. We expect great things from you in August Mr. Robertson but please, can we ease up on the Houdini tricks? They are bound to give someone a heart attack.

Rafael Soriano (A): This hasn’t been Rafael Soriano’s best month but it certaintly wasn’t his worst. He was 9/10 for saves and even the great Mariano Rivera isn’t perfect when it comes to save situations. Soriano has been the most consistent in the bullpen which is why he is the best go-to person for the Yankees. Also, when he complete’s saves I really enjoy when he untucks his shirt to celebrate a Yankees win, and I’m sure a lot of Yankees fans enjoy it as well.

Morning Bits: Jeter, Rodriguez, Headley, Teixeira

Good morning everyone and happy Sunday to you all! Yankees lost yesterday but what still has fans in a winning mood was Mark Teixeira’s HR off his rival Vincente Padilla! That was the highlight of the season right there! Tonight’s game is an ESPN game which will start at 8:05pm. Here are your morning links:

– Derek Jeter has no plans to retire anytime soon, so could he possibly reach 4,000 hits by the time he’s ready to hang up his cleats?

– With Alex Rodriguez out of the picture for the next 8 weeks or so, do the Yankees go and get Chase Headley from the Padres?

And Mark Teixeira tweets a very important question–and gets an answer from David Robertson:

Morning Bits: Cano & Robertson at Trenton Thunder game today, Yankees check into Wigginton & more

Good morning all.  After an ugly road trip out west the Yankees came back with a win yesterday afternoon.  Today is an off day.   The Yankees are reportedly not interested in making a big trade for a replacement for A-Rod.  So it seems they will stick with what they got unless those reports are just a smoke screen.   Yankees baseball is back tomorrow as they will be back in the Bronx to play the Boston Red Sox.

Enjoy the day.  Now onto the links…

Bryan Hoch of mlb.com has a lot of tidbits of the Yankees such as: Recovery for A-Rod is underway, Swisher targets Friday to be back & Keeping Chavez healthy is key.

Wallace Matthews of ESPN NY writes that A-Rod’s injury won’t be a big blow for the Yankees to overcome.  What do you think?

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that they Yankees are looking into Wigginton or another player to share part time duty with Chavez at third.

Andrew Marchand of ESPN NY gives reasons why Eduardo Nunez makes sense at third.

John Nalbone of The Star Ledgers has the story on Cano & Robertson who will be at the Trenton Thunder game today for charity.

Standings from ESPN.COM

Phelps holds Rays down as Yanks take series finale with 4-3 win

The Yankees were unsure what they were going to get out of David Phelps in today’s game, but the results were quite delightful as the Yankees were able to snap a 9 game skid while playing at Tropicana Field with a 4-3 win.

Although David Phelps went 4.1 IP he was very impressive by allowing only 1 run on 2 hits and 8 strikeouts. In total, the Yankees had 16 strikeouts in the ball game (8 by Phelps, 3 by Cody Eppley, 2 by Boone Logan, 2 by David Robertson & 1 by Rafael Soriano). If Phelps were more stretched out then he could have went longer in the game and had probably have been more dominant as the game went along.

In the beginning of the game, the Yankees were having trouble with David Price who only gave up 1 run on 4 hits in 7 innings, but in the 8th the Yankees old buddy Kyle Farnsworth was able to bail them out of losing 10 straight at Tropicana Field by leaving the bases loaded before getting lifted for Jake McGee. Robinson Cano scored 2 runs off of Jake McGee (Both runs charged to Farnsworth).

The Yankees have an off-day tomorrow but on Friday they are playing in Fenway Park in a 4 game series (2 games on Saturday) vs. the Red Sox. Make sure you drink a lot of coffee for this series folks! You’re going to need it.

Rare error by Teixeira pushes Rays past Yankees in 4-3 deficit

The Yankees had gotten everything that they wanted from Freddy Garcia who pitched 5.1 IP of 2 run baseball, but RISP failures and a rare error by Mark Teixeira handed the Yankees their 8th loss in Tropicana Field this season as the Rays defeated the Yankees 4-3.

Fans were worried that Freddy Garcia might have put the game in jeopardy before the game even started but he had pitched very well. He only had given up 2 runs; both on solo HR’s (one to B.J Upton and one to Carlos Pena). He was lifted in the 6th inning for Cody Eppley who had gotten the Yankees out of the inning tied. What looked promising after the Yankees scored another run in the 7th turned horrible when in the bottom half in the inning Boone Logan walked Sean Rodriguez and let him advance to 2nd on a wild pitch. David Robertson gave up the tying run after coming in the game (the run was charged to Logan). Robertson seemed to have gotten the Yankees out of the inning on a ground ball–until Mark Teixeira let the ball skip under his glove all the way down the right field line allowing the 4th and final run to score.

The Yankees scored their 3 runs by playing ABC Baseball. They got 2 runs in the 1st inning on a RBI by Teixeira and a RBI on Robinson Cano. The Yankees scored their 3rd and final run on excellent base running by Chris Stewart which ended with Curtis Granderson hitting a SAC Fly.

The Yankees can take some positives away from the outing. Freddy Garcia pitched well again, Chris Stewart knows how to play ABC Baseball which reminds us of Brett Gardner and Chad Qualls was able to retire both batters he faced after arriving in the visitors clubhouse at 5:30 in the afternoon.

Tomorrow the Yankees will face James Shields and they will put Ivan Nova on the mound. This game is bound to be good. First pitch is at 7:05pm.

Morning Bits: Jeter, Warren, Robertson, Bullpen, Rotation

Tough loss last night.  A lot of second guessing today by many fans.  Game time tonight is 7:05pm.  On the mound for the White Sox is Quintana and for the Yankees rookie Adam Warren.

Let’s get right to the links…..

– Last night Derek Jeter tied Cal Ripken on all time on the career hit lit.  Steven Miller of mlb.com has the story.

– Adam Warren is to make his big league debut tonight.  Tyler Emerick of mlb.com has the preview of the game.

– Robertson thought he would have started the 9th inning last night reports Andrew Marchand of ESPN NY.

David Waldstein of the New York Times says the Yankee bullpen faltered in the 9th.

Waldstein also has another article about how the Yankees are looking from within to patch the rotation.

Yankees Report Card: June

Here’s a new monthly article I like to call the Yankees Report Card. Every month based on the Yankees performances (pitchers included), I will give them a letter grade from A-F and explain why they got the grade they deserved. If there is a grade that you might not agree with, place the grade that you would have given a player down in the comment section below. All stats are as of June 26. 

Derek Jeter (B): Derek Jeter’s bat hasn’t been as hot as it was in April & May since his average is .240 in the month of June. However, Jeter hit 2 home runs in the month of June (He’s not a HR hitter so it’s remarkable) and he has 7 RBI’s.  It also helps that he kept his average over .300 for the past 3 months. A downside as to why Jeter didn’t get a higher grade? He struck out 17 times.

Curtis Granderson (B-): Curtis Granderson’s average for June is .211, but of course we all know Curtis Granderson isn’t hitting for average. In the month of June, Granderson hit 5 home runs, drove in 14 RBI’s and walked 13 times in the month of June. Granderson’s strikeouts are however a little outrageous. He struck out 29 times in June which brings his total for the season so far to 86.

Mark Teixeira (B): Again, it looks as if Mark Teixeira isn’t hitting for average since he’s batting .241 in the month of June. Instead Tex is hitting for power and RBI’s. Although he’s only hit 3 HR’s, he’s driven in 13 runs and walked 13 times. He also doesn’t struck out a lot since he’s only done it 14 times. Teixeira also has been hitting with RISP lately which was why I bumped his average from a B- (which was his original grade) to a B.

Alex Rodriguez (B): Alex Rodriguez hit only .225 in the month of June, but he hit 6 HR’s, drove in 15 runs and walked 11 times. Although A-Rod is looking a little hotter at the plate, June wasn’t his best month. May was. If he keeps hitting home runs that help win games then he’ll continue to pass on his report card.

Robinson Cano (A): Robinson Cano’s bat in the month of June is “muy caliente”. After a slow start to the season, Cano is batting .325 in the month of June while also hitting 9 HR’s, driving in 16 RBI’s and walking 12 times. It seems to me with the 9 HR’s that Cano is hitting, he’s practicing for the Home Run Derby. Well then by all means, you don’t need the practice, but keep hitting them anyway Robbie. Chicks dig the long ball.

Nick Swisher (A): June has been Nick Swisher’s best month by far with a .338 average. Swisher hit 4 HR’s, drove in 14 RBI’s and walked 10 times. Not only that, but Swisher has been making great plays in the outfield. Swisher makes watching him play in right field fun, and not only that but you can’t help but get a smile on your face just by watching Swisher play with a smile on his face.

Raul Ibanez (C-): In the month of June, Raul Ibanez has seemed to have faltered a bit after having a good April and May. In June, Ibanez is hitting .169 with 2 HR’s & 7 RBI’s. He also has only walked once. The good we can take away from this is that he only struck out 8 times. That’s something, right?

Russell Martin (D+): Well, June has been Martin’s best month so far–but the numbers are still pretty bad. Martin’s batting .217 in June with 4 HR’s & 9 RBI’s. The only reason he doesn’t get lower than a D+ is because he knows how to call games, but hitting the baseball is just as important as calling a game Russell. Maybe July will be your month?

Andruw Jones (D+): Andruw Jones hasn’t played a lot in June–but that’s no excuse for doing almost absolutely nothing at the plate. Jones only hit 2 HR’s & drove in 4 runs in 34 at-bats. His average is also at .206. He doesn’t get an F however because he does do well in the outfield when he’s in there but seriously Andruw, where’s the power?

Chris Stewart (B): Chris Stewart has 8 at-bats less than Andruw Jones and he has been able to do more with his at-bats. Stewart is batting .306 in June and has driven in 4 RBI’s but don’t expect the ball to go out of the park with him. He also is known for calling great games and his defense is good (I know he made a mistake in the Mets series finale game but come on, everyone makes mistakes). Stewart always does something when he plays which is probably why Cashman and Girardi thought it made most sense to go to him as a backup catcher. Well, wherever you got him from, don’t return him. He’s awesome.

Jayson Nix (B-): Nix hasn’t gotten a lot of at-bats in the month of June, but he has been able to get on base with a .263 average in June. Nix has no homers or RBI’s but he’s a bench player so it’s understandable. Whatever you’re doing to get on base Nix, don’t stop.

Eric Chavez (B): Eric Chavez is another one of those bench guys that is always doing something amazing (when he’s not injured). Chavez has a .294 average in June with 2 HR’s & 4 RBI’s but what really makes him deserve a B is that he’s a great defender at third base when Alex Rodriguez is out of the lineup. Of course did you expect anything less from Chavez? Chavez is a 6 time Gold Glover after all.

Dewayne Wise (B-): June has been Dewayne Wise’s best month so far with a .286 average. It also helps that he got his first home run of the season in the month of June–and how it was a 3 run homer.

CC Sabathia (B+): CC Sabathia is the Yankees ace but he has looked like he doesn’t have great command of his pitches. In 5 starts he’s 3-1 with a 3.03 ERA with 36 strikeouts. It however amazes me when CC doesn’t have his best stuff and then he ends up going into the 7th inning or so which gives the bullpen a break.

Hiroki Kuroda (A-): Hiroki Kuroda in the month of June has been flat out terrific. He’s 3-1 with a 2.38 ERA with 32 strikeouts. It’s also Kuroda’s first winning month of the season. Kuroda was 2-3 in both April and in May. Impressive, huh?

Ivan Nova (A+): Ivan Nova in the month of June has been flat-out dominant. He’s 3-0 with a 1.27 ERA  with 22 strikeouts. He’s also 9-2 on the season which is very impressive. Who said that Nova was going to have a Sophmore slump?

Andy Pettitte (B+): Andy has sure been good in the month of June, which is why his record is 1-1 with a 3.08 ERA. Both of Pettitte’s starts were good, even the loss (if you take out the 5 run 1st inning from the Mets). Andy, are you sure you’re 40, because you’re pitching like an All-Star.

Phil Hughes (B+): Phil Hughes has been great for the Yankees in June going 4-1 with a 2.67 ERA. The only thing that stopped him from getting an A-? He’s given up 7 HR’s in the month of June. Other than that, he looks like the Phil Hughes of 2010!

Cody Eppley (B+): Cody Eppley has been one of the biggest surprises in the Yankees bullpen only giving up 5 earned runs in 18 innings which results in a 2.50 ERA. He’s also held opponents to a .234 average against him. It helps to have a right handed side armer, doesn’t it?

Clay Rapada (A+): Clay Rapada has emerged from the Yankees bullpen and has became one of my favorite pitchers to watch. He is 1-0 with a 1.00 ERA and holds batters to a .071 average against him! I had been rooting for Rapada to make the team since Spring Training so it makes me glad that he has a chance to show Joe (Girardi) what he can do.

Freddy Garcia (A): Ever since being placed in the Yankees bullpen, Freddy Garcia has been dominant. He’s 1-0 with a 1.59 ERA and holds batters to a .190 average. I’m still a little iffy about Garcia though since I don’t fully trust him, but he’s been doing well so I tip my cap to him.

Boone Logan (A):  Boone Logan is in Clay Rapada territory meaning that he has one of the lowest numbers in the bullpen. He’s 2-0 with a 2.00 ERA while holding batters to a .107 ERA. This bullpen just gets better and better, doesn’t it?

David Robertson (A-): David Robertson was on the DL for a bit but when he came back he was a little rusty in his first outing which explains the 2.45 ERA in June, but since then he’s been Houdini. Stranding batters and striking them is all apart of Robertson’s description. Girardi has been cautious of Robertson since he is just coming back from an oblique injury, but he’s having another great year.

Rafael Soriano (A+): Can anyone say ‘lights out’? Soriano is having a ridiculous month with a 0.96 ERA in the closer role. It makes the Mariano Rivera season ending injury a little less painful when you have someone who is already a closer in the bullpen. Soriano, keep it up.

Cory Wade (F): Cory Wade in June is very baffling. The guy has an 11.05 ERA and seems to be having trouble straightening himself out. Well, Wade better get it together soon or he might be wearing a new uniform in the Yankees organization. Maybe a Scranton Wilkes-Barre uniform?

What would help this team at trading deadline?

What will Cashman look to add?

Baseball officials often say they like to break the season down into one- thirds. The first third is to evaluate your team’s strengths and weaknesses. The middle third is to look for solutions to your problems and to make changes – and the final third is to make a push with the new/improved team you’ve assembled. The Yankees are in that middle phase now and have gone through a lot in the season so far. They struggled for the first 42 games and had a .500 record on May 21st. They then went on an amazing 20-4 run that just ended with back to back losses to Atlanta. Now that we’ve seen their worst and their best baseball, I think it’s a good time to evaluate what this team needs to make a push for their 28th Championship.

Bullpen

The pen has been their strong point all season. Even after surviving the loss of 2 All-Stars in Mariano Rivera and David Robertson they still have kept it together. They are 3rd in MLB in bullpen ERA with a 2.73 mark and have blown a league-low 4 saves in 24 opportunities. With Rafael Soriano looking comfortable in the Closer’s role and Robertson returning healthy, the Yankee bullpen is set. Boone Logan & Clay Rapada have been absolutely excellent vs LH hitters and Cody Eppley and Cory Wade are serviceable in their roles. There may even be a chance that Joba and/or David Aardsma come back at some point this year so there is no need for them to look outside of the organization for relief help.

Rotation

The starters have been pitching tremendously in June and on the season they are 5th in the A.L. with a 4.14 ERA. The one disturbing trend is that they lead all of baseball in HRs allowed with 65 and are 27th overall in opposing hitters OPS at .780.  However, all the starters are pitching better as of late and right now the top 3 of C.C., Andy Pettitte & Ivan Nova look pretty strong.  Kuroda is solid as a #4 and Hughes is OK as the #5 man. So the question is, can anyone out there help them? Read the rest of this entry

Makeshift Bullpen Getting It Done

 

 If you were to tell me at the beginning of the season that Clay Rapada, Boone Logan, Cody Eppley and Corey Wade would be pitching important innings this year I would have told you to get your head examined. At the start of the year the Yankees had a bullpen that projected to be elite. They have lived up to that billing, but it has not been because of the guys you expected. With Mariano Rivera and David Robertson going down those 4 pitchers and Rafael Soriano have all stepped up in a huge way.

The fact that Soriano has saved 11 out of 12 games this year comes as no surprise. He was an elite closer in Tampa Bay and will continue to be here. I was in the minority at the time of his signing because I liked the move. The Yankees had a shaky rotation at the time so why not make the games pretty much over with a lead after 7 innings? He also gave the Yankees insurance in case the unthinkable happened, which it finally did this year. Soriano deserves huge credit for taking over for Mariano Rivera almost flawlessly so far. It was an outrage that he got booed after blowing the save on Sunday against the Mets. However, since I expected this from Soriano he isn’t the real story here; Clay Rapada, Boone Logan, Cody Eppley, and Cory Wade are.

Joe Girardi has always gotten the most out of his bullpens during his tenure as Yankees manager. He always makes sure they are well rested and he has done a phenomenal of mixing and matching since David Robertson got hurt. This was particularly evident against Atlanta. All three games were close and the late innings were all high leverage innings. Rapda, Eppley, Wade, and Logan all got opportunities to get holds and have converted.  Rapada has been a great LOOGY this year, as he has held lefties to a line of .163/.280/.256/.536. Eppley has relied on his fantastic sinker to get the job done this year. He has thrown his sinking fastball 78% of the time this year to induce an incredible ground ball rate of 70.5%. If you keep the ball on the ground that much you will be successful.                                                                                                                                                                                          

Boone Logan was a guy I always thought had the potential to be this good and more than just an average LOOGY. Logan’s line vs. lefties (.195/.255/.293/.548) is outstanding along with his 13.09 K/9 and 2.45 ERA. I always liked his hard fastball and slider combination, but he has completely changed the way he was pitched this year.Logan has only thrown his fastball 47.7 % of the time as opposed to 62 % last year, and 67 % the year before. Hence, he has thrown his slider 49.9 % of the time this year as opposed to 35.9 % last year, and 26.1 % of the time the year before.Logan’s slider has an incredible Whiff % of 26.49%. Cory Wade has been a great jack of all trades guy because he has the ability to throw 5 different pitches at any time. He is best known for his slow curve that has kept hitters off balance. He has let up big homers to Mark Trumbo and Miguel Cabrera of late but has been solid for the most part this year. Wade is 0-1 on the year, with a 2.63 ERA, a .95 WHIP, and 9.9 K/9.

These 4 Yankees have been the unsung heroes of the season.  Now with David Robertson back they will face less pressure and should continue to thrive. Also, they can stay fresher because with the Yankees having all of these late leads lately they have been getting a ton of work. Robertson makes this bullpen perhaps the best in the MLB even without the great Mariano Rivera. The starters also deserve credit for carrying their weight without Robertson available. If the Yankees go on to have a great season people need to remember this time when Robertson got hurt and these 4 pitchers held the fort down.

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