Despite having a 6-4 win, the Yankees had multiple injury issues. Let’s address them one by one as if it’s one big sandwich.
– Let’s start with Francisco Cervelli. Cervelli was hit in the knuckles by a pitch from Ivan Nova in the first inning. Cervelli was taken for x-rays and the results weren’t good. Cervelli has a broken hand that requires surgery, and he’s expected to be sidelined for a minimum of 6 weeks. Having surgery means that the fracture wasn’t a clean fracture and the doctors would have to open him up to see how bad the damage in his hand is. The surgery is scheduled for tomorrow. A huge blow for the Yankees and bad luck for Cervelli who was playing so well for the first couple of weeks.
– Let’s continue onto Ivan Nova. Two innings later, Ivan Nova was pulled out of the game by Joe Girardi and fans initially thought that he pulled a hamstring. It was revealed that he had pain in his elbow and was sent for an MRI. The results of the MRI weren’t back by the time the Yankees finished the game, so we’d have to wait until tomorrow to see the results.
– And Finally, we shall end it with Kevin Youkilis. Kevin Youkilis has been out of the lineup for almost a week (tomorrow makes seven days) and the Yankees were attempting to avoid the DL with him. However, if his back isn’t well by tomorrow then the Yankees could possibly place him on the 15-day DL. Now, he wouldn’t have to spend an extra fifteen days sidelined. The Yankees could retroactive his DL from the day he stopped playing.
The Yankees have been the walking wounded since the season began…and now they’re going to have to walk wounded some more.
When the baseball season starts, fans usually go to the ball park in order to take in nine innings of glorious baseball. As much as I enjoy going to the ball park to hear the crack of the bat, the fans cheering loudly and the food, I usually love going to the ball park in order to listen to the walk-up music of the Yankees. Music is one of my biggest passions, and to me the Yankees have done more than play great baseball over the years; they’ve also introduced me to new music and have filled up my iTunes with songs that I listen to on a consistent basis. Since Opening Day for the Yankees is tomorrow, I went on the Yankees website, found the list to some of the Yankees walk-up songs and took a listen to them, introducing myself to the different types of music that our players listen to.
1. Brennan Boesch: Brennan Boesch didn’t waste any time in choosing his songs for the 2013 season as he went and chose two songs for his walk-up music. The first song was “Sail” by Awolnation. When I first took a listen to the song, I found it intimidating in a good way. It’s not as intimidating as Evan Longoria‘s walk-up song (which is arguably one of the best walk-up songs in the Major Leagues), but it makes you think that something big is coming. The second song that Boesch chose was “We’ll Be Fine” by Drake. This is one of those songs that has you nodding your head while Boesch comes to the plate. Boesch hasn’t played a real game for the Yankees yet, but if I must applaud him on one thing, it’s his good taste in music.
2. Brett Gardner: I have to admit that before I started watching Gardner play baseball, I did not listen to country music; at all. But in 2011, Gardner had “Dirt Road Anthem” by Jason Aldean as one of his walk-up songs and ever since then, half my iTunes is consumed with country music. This year, Gardner went with “Hell On Wheels” by Brantely Gilbert which is another great country song. Now, let’s hope that Gardner’s 2013 season is as dynamite as his walk-up song choice.
3. Chris Stewart: Chris Stewart is close to having one of the best walk-up songs on the Yankees if he only played the first twenty seconds of the song over the P.A. Stewart’s song choice is “Forsaken” by Skillet and if there’s one thing I must say, is that the guitar riffs were amazing. I wouldn’t normally listen to music like this, but after today now I would. Now, all he has to do is play on a consistent basis so I could heart this song over and over at the ball park. I wouldn’t mind paying money for that.
4. Curtis Granderson: We all remember the famous video where Curtis Granderson was picking his at-bat music and then almost cried when he chose “Friday.” Well, maybe all those hours of going through his laptop did the Grandy Man some good. His walk-up song (when he comes back) is none other than “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See (Instrumental)” by Busta Rhymes. Not too fond of the lyrics, but I do love the beat, so a smart move by Granderson in just using the instrumental.
5. David Robertson: We all know that David Robertson is an Alabama boy. He was born in Tuscaloosa and he is constantly helping his hometown with High Socks For Hope. So it doesn’t surprise me that his walk-up song is the awesome “Sweet Home Alabama” by Lynyrd Skynyrd. It’s actually a good thing I know about this now because I made a deadly mistake in asking my Twitter followers last season what D-Rob’s walk-up song was. Let’s just say they weren’t too happy with me during the game when they found out I seriously didn’t know. Well, I know now and it’s an awesome song. I’m looking forward to the 8th inning where I could sit back and listen to the tune that introduces us to the Yankees favorite set-up man.
6. Derek Jeter: The Captain won’t be there on Opening Day for us to hear his walk-up music but he made sure that he chose a song. I’m not too fond of rap music but, “Otis” by Jay-Z and Kanye West was a decent choice by Jeter. It would be nice to hear it at Yankee Stadium when The Captain returns, but in the meantime I guess the closest we can hear this song is on Youtube (and on iTunes if you have it already).
7. Hiroki Kuroda: Hiroki Kuroda has some great taste in music! Kuroda’s walk-up music is “The Whip” by Locksley and when I heard it for the first time, I heard some influence of ‘The Beatles’ in the chorus of the song. It’s nice that Kuroda was able to take us back to the good music–without actually taking us all the way back to the 1960′s.
8. Ivan Nova: Ah, is there nothing better than listening to some awesome Spanish music at Yankee Stadium? That’s what Ivan Nova introduced to the fans when he made his walk-up choice “Marta La Reina” by Antony Santos. This is one of those songs where you can’t help but get up from your seat and start dancing. According to the Yankees website, I don’t think it’s available for purchase but they have the song on Youtube where you can hear it over and over and over. It’s actually a great song to hear on a Sunday morning (with your headphones on).
9. Mariano Rivera: Mariano Rivera’s song choice is as fitting as his role on the Yankees. When the Yankees have a lead and they go to the 9th inning, Mariano Rivera comes in the game and puts it to bed, dubbing him “The Sandman.” Rivera’s song choice is the best song choice by far on the Yankees with “Enter Sandman” by Metallica. The guitar riffs in the song are simply amazing and when Yankees fans hear it, they can’t help but get excited, knowing that the greatest closer of all time is coming in to make the opposing team’s offense go to sleep. Yankees fans better soak in all of “Enter Sandman” that they can this season, since Rivera plans on retiring at the end of the season. I know I’ll soak up every moment.
10. Mark Teixeira: If there’s anyone that we can count on to take us back to when rap music was at it’s best, it’s Mark Teixeira. His song choice “It’s Tricky” by Run D.M.C is a great way to pay a homage to rap at it’s finest. Of course, we expect nothing less of Teixeira since he has been famously known of using classics from the Twisted Sisters in the past. But Teixeira didn’t stop there. His second song choice was “This Town” by O.A.R. which is one of my favorite songs. Teixeira hit a home run with his song choices and I can’t wait until he gets back on the field so we can hear it blaring from the P.A speakers.
11. Phil Hughes: Phil Hughes’s walk-up song is pretty vague. There’s no artist next to his song choice ”Tomorrowland” so I did a search on Youtube and it sounds more like Hughes is ready for summer in a club than ready to play baseball. If this is his song, I’m not too fond of the techno-beat, but I can see it getting fans excited.
12. Robinson Cano: Robinson Cano simply outdid everyone when it came to choosing songs. He didn’t choose two songs, he went the extra mile and chose three! His first song was “El Que No Aguante La Presion” by Secreto El Biberon which is a great song choice. It reminds me of summer like Hughes’s song choice, but Cano’s song reminds me more of running through fire hydrants that have water coming out of them than the club. Cano’s second song choice was “Me Kitee” by Black Point. Again, it reminded me of summer. Cano’s last song was “Te Prendo” by Chimbala. As far as Spanish songs go, all three of Cano’s song choices hit it out of the ball park. Simply great. If his goal was to get Yankees fans on their feet while he comes to bat, he succeeded.
13. Vernon Wells: I’m not a fan of rap music, but if you choose a song with Dr. Dre and Eminem, then you are in my good graces for the entire season. And that’s exactly what Vernon Wells did by choosing “Forgot About Dre” by Dr. Dre & Eminem. The beat is fantastic and this was when rap was still at it is greatest. It’s great that someone chose a throwback song, and now I will await his arrival to the plate just to hear this awesome song.
The Yankees choosing their own walk-up music is a way for them to connect to their fans. It shows fans what kind of music their idols like and in their own way, they introduce you to music you may have never heard of before. The Yankees are always winners in the fans eyes, but they’ve become more than. They’re role models with impeccable taste in music. So the next time you go to the ball park, open your ears when your favorite Yankee goes to the plate. You just might have a new favorite song that you’ll want as soon as you get home.
In a little less than three weeks, the Yankees will begin their home-opener against the Boston Red Sox with CC Sabathia on the mound. However, this year’s Opening Day lineup might be a little different than what we’re used to due to all of the injuries the Yankees were plagued with during the 2013 season. The Yankees are missing Curtis Granderson (broken forearm), Mark Teixeira (strained forearm) and Alex Rodriguez (hip surgery) in their offense which is sure to look like the ‘Robinson Cano Show’ for the first month and a half. But with still some time to go, just how are the Yankees shaping up as they prepare for the season?
The Yankees lineup has many question marks after losing so many players to free agency and injuries. The bats of Nick Swisher, Russell Martin, Raul Ibanez and Eric Chavez will be with different ball clubs, while we will most likely have to wait for Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson to return to their post in early to mid-May. However, the lineup hasn’t looked as puzzling as it did when Spring Training started. The Yankees proved that they can manufacture runs by using a key element that they possess: speed. Players like Brett Gardner, Ichiro Suzuki and Eduardo Nunez are capable of getting on base, going station to station on their own before a key teammate has to drive them in with an RBI. Speed will play an important part this season since the Yankees have lost over 100 home runs than in season’s past. But just because the Yankees are relying on speed, it doesn’t mean we should start calling them the ‘Bronx Bunters’. They will still find a way to hit home runs with Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira making their way back into the starting lineup.
Throughout the course of Spring Training, the starting pitching has been one early glimpse of how our starters will perform during the 2013 season. It looks as if they left off from last season. Hiroki Kuroda looks to be in mid-season form, David Phelps has a 0.63 ERA 14 Spring appearances Ivan Nova has an ERA of 1. Andy Pettitte has still proven that his pitches are effective although he’s the oldest starting pitcher in Major League Baseball. And as expected, there is no concern over CC Sabathia, whatsoever. The starting pitching looks to be one of the Yankees strong points like it was in season’s past. Let’s hope that the pitching can carry the Yanks this season.
The Yankees bullpen was another one of their key pieces that helped define the Yankees last season. With pitchers such as David Robertson, Boone Logan, Clay Rapada and Joba Chamberlain, it seemed like an easy task to get the ball to the 9th inning before handing it off to the greatest closer of all time, Mariano Rivera. Last season’s bullpen dynamic was different since there was no Mariano in the bullpen due to an ACL injury, giving the Yankees a glimpse of what it would look like if Mariano Rivera wasn’t there. With Rafael Soriano, the Yankees were able to still close games with a dominant force but this year there is no Rafael Soriano. Mariano Rivera plans to retire after the 2013 season, which gives Yankees fans one last look of the greatest closer before he hangs up his cleats and says goodbye to the game. The bullpen is expected to be a strong part of the Yankees once again, and from Spring observations, I wouldn’t be surprised if Shawn Kelley and David Phelps get spots in the bullpen. With both of their arms this spring, the Yankees bullpen could become an iron gate to prevent runs from scoring.
There’s only 17 days until Opening Day so from now until Spring Training is over, it would be a good time to start watching the games to see who has a legitimate shot of making the team. And from what I’ve seen all Spring so far, there are quite a few who have a chance to go north.
Day three of Spring Training has come to a close, meaning it’s time for another Spring Training report. Yesterday was all about Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera. Today, our Spring Training notes travel further back in the rotation (and briefly at third base). Today, we take you into the competition for the fifth starter spot between Ivan Nova and David Phelps, who had a great rookie season with the Yankees last year.
We should start by discussing the battle for the 5th spot between Nova and Phelps.
Nova vs. Phelps: Who gets the fifth spot?
Ivan Nova doesn’t know what went wrong last season after he posted 7.05 ERA after the All-Star Break. He does know that the fifth starter spot is his to lose to David Phelps.
“I was in competition when I had the season I had last year. Last year was a competition. This year’s going to be a competition. For me, next year’s going to be a competition. Like I told one of the guys, CC’s got 100-something million. With that contract, I can sit down and it won’t be a competition, but for me every year is a competition. I’m confident at the same time that I’m going to be there. I cannot sit here and let things happen. I’ve got to go and fight for it.” Nova told the media earlier today. One other person agreed with Nova’s words, Joe Girardi.
“He has to go out there and prove himself. That’s the bottom line.” Girardi said. “Because of what he went through the second half of the season, he has to earn a job. You’d like to think that every starter would go out and earn a job, but we know that’s not realistic. I don’t think we’re going to look at CC’s numbers real heavily, or (Hiroki) Kuroda’s.”
Coming into camp, it seemed that David Phelps had the disadvantage due to the fact that he was in a bullpen role last season? So does that mean Joe Girardi will judge Phelps on whether he’s a bullpen piece or not?
“We’re going to look at (Phelps) as a starter going into camp because that’s what we project him as in the future. And we’ll make adjustments if we have to.”
So for those of you who plan on watching almost every Spring Training game (or if you have MLB.TV where you would technically only miss three games), then this is the year for you to watch who gets the fifth rotation spot.
Michael Pineda loses weight and could be ready by June
Michael Pineda went to Spring Training camp in better shape than he did last season, weighing in at 260 and ready to work towards returning to the Yankees in June. Brian Cashman answered questions about Pineda but mostly gave a prognosis on where Pineda was at this point.
“Mike’s doing well so far.” Cashman said. “He’s completing his first week on a full mound, he’s had no setbacks, he’s worked very hard and it’s a very serious surgery he’s coming back from. No guarantees but so far we’re optimistic.”
If all goes well, Pineda could be back with the Yankees before the All-Star Break.
Youkilis comes to camp
Kevin Youkilis came to Yankees camp for a few minutes earlier today, but he did get his work in while at the minor league complex with some of the other players. Youkilis seemed excited to see teammate Juan Cedeno, who he knew since they were both in the Red Sox organization at one point. Youkilis got to Tampa at 6:30 this morning and went to work out at the minor league complex. Eduardo Nunez was also spotted in the Yankees clubhouse. Probably getting his work in.
A big reminder, tomorrow is the voluntary report date for the Yankees position players but we should expect more of them coming in the coming days. To Girardi’s knowledge, none of them have visa or transportation issues. Also, someone might want to call Robinson Cano. Remember in 2010 when he showed up a day late to camp because he had the dates mixed up? Yeah…
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
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).
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.
The Yankees started to play some better baseball this week. They went 4-2 in an extremely important week of games. They started it off on Sunday with a blow out win to salvage a huge split in Baltimore. They then managed to take two out of three in Boston against a team there was no excuses for loosing a series against. CC Sabathia continued to struggle against Tampa, but Ivan Nova pitched a huge game to even the series going into today. The Yankees struggled hitting with RISP in Boston, but it seems like their offense has gotten better. Eduardo Nunez has provided a big spark, which he could have before if he was actually used. Curtis Granderson has gone on a home run tear. Alex Rodriguez is really getting into a nice grove and Derek Jeter continues to fight through his injury to produce. The nominees for Week 19 Yankees Player of the Week are Curtis Granderson, Derek Jeter, Phil Hughes, and Ivan Nova.
The Case For Granderson: Granderson was .318, with 5 HR’s and 11 RBI on the week. He sparked the Yankees to the blow out win on Sunday with a HR and 5 RBI coming off the bench. His 2 HR’s were the key to Wednesday’s win in Boston.
The Case For Jeter: Jeter’s hurt ankle has not stopped him this week. He hit .333 with 1 HR and 7 RBI. His consistency this year continues to be amazing.
The Case For Hughes. Hughes dominated Boston on Thursday by pitching 7.1 shut out innings. He allowed only 5 hits on 7 strikeouts. The Yankees only scored two runs for him so it was imperative that Hughes cam through. He has pitched some big games lately.
The Case For Nova: In a very surprising development Nova looked as good yesterday as he has all season. He pitched 6 innings, allowed 2 runs on 4 hits and struck out 8. He pitched even better than those numbers would suggest. He looked dominating at times and left very few pitches in the middle of the plate as he had before.
Curtis Granderson is the Week 19 Yankees Player of the Week. If he can keep this play up it will be big for the Yankees. There were a lot of good candidates this week so vote for your pick in the poll and discuss in the comments.
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.
The Yankees are expected to be one of the contenders during this year’s 2012 play-offs, and although so far it looks like the Yankees might lose first place to the Rays, I still predict that the Yankees will win the American League East by at least 3-4 games. With that being said, I do not feel like it is a bad idea to think about the starting rotation for the 2012 play-offs. For the Yankees, CC Sabathia goes first–but if the Yankees were to go all the way to the World Series (hypothetically), how would you shape up the rotation? After observing the Yankees starting rotation for quite some time, here is how I would compose the 2012 play-off rotation if the Yankees were to go all the way to the World Series.
American League Division Series
Reason: It is obvious that our ace, CC Sabathia would go first since he is the one that holds us into games and always gives us a chance to score and after CC, to me it seemed that this rotation makes sense. When the Yankees first signed Hiroki Kuroda, I thought it was going to be another signing gone wrong (like the signing of Carl Pavano & A.J Burnett), but Kuroda proved me wrong as well as Yankees fans when he came out of the dugout throwing gem after gem. Unfortunately, the Yankees seem to not score when Kuroda is on the mound, thus why his win/loss record is not spectacular. Kuroda however, proves that he is a liable part to the rotation and has earned the #2 spot with his 2.96 ERA and 1.120 WHIP so far this season. Now, we move onto Phil Hughes. I know, you’re asking why did I chose a guy whose 12-11 with a 4.15 ERA & a 1.269 WHIP as the third starter. It’s because when Hughes is right, his stuff is ‘Philthy’ (pun intended). Hughes proved it in his last outing when he only gave up two runs. Sure, his Achilles heel is giving up the long ball but all pitchers give up home runs. When Hughes is also right, he is able to keep the Yankees in the game. That is what makes Hughes so valuable (and he pitches better than what his outings says).
American League Championship Series / World Series
Reason: The ALCS and the World Series rotation are a little different due to one name–Andy Pettitte. The only reason I did not list Andy Pettitte in the rotation for the ALDS was because he is still recovering from that foot injury and of course, if I were the manager I would want to give Pettitte’s foot just a little more time to heal. Pettitte is competitive and has the most postseason wins on the Yankees. He is also a great addition to the rotation and gives it depth. Sure, he’s only gotten a couple of starts since returning in May, but if he could get 2-3 more starts before he’s plugged back into the rotation then he should be just fine.
What about David Phelps?
David Phelps has played a big part in the rotation with the injuries to CC Sabathia and now Ivan Nova, but I would not put Phelps in the rotation in case one of the pitchers in the rotation has an off night and the Yanks are in dire need of a long man. You cannot ask Derek Lowe to go out there since he might be needed later in the game and you definitely cannot ask David Robertson or Rafael Soriano to come in earlier than expected. Phelps belongs on the play-off roster and he belongs in the bullpen to help the Yankees out. If you need more convincing that he belongs on the playoff roster, he has a 2.69 ERA and a 1.147 WHIP.
What about Ivan Nova?
At the rate he is pitching, Ivan Nova would not get a playoff spot in the rotation. Yes, he is 11-7 but he has an ERA of almost five and a WHIP of 1.456. He also is right there with Phil Hughes in giving up a lot of HR’s. It also seems for the last 2 months or so, Ivan Nova looks lost on the mound. Maybe I might change my mind when he comes off the DL and if he pitches like ‘Super Nova’ but until then, there is no way that he’s getting a spot on the playoff roster.
What about Freddy Garcia?
Freddy Garcia has been a surprise for the Yankees since coming back into the rotation. On the season, he’s 7-5 with a 4.96 ERA. Trust me, the ERA of five is nothing to be happy about but it is a big improvement from when his ERA was over 12 in the beginning of the year. Garcia would be another pitcher that would go into the bullpen for the playoffs in case the starters do not perform up to par. When you think about it, Garcia has not been bad at all and he’s actually earning some trust back from Yankees fans. Remember earlier in the season when we wanted him gone and we wished for A.J Burnett to return? Well slowly, we all forgot A.J Burnett’s name and continued chanting ‘Sweaty Freddy’. Garcia could play a huge role in the playoffs like Phelps and right now, he might get a spot in the bullpen but all that could change now that we are in the final month of the regular season.
There is still a lot of baseball to be played and anything could happen, but if the season ended today, is this the top starting rotation that you would attempt to take above and beyond?
I and everybody else in the Yankees blogosphere have written plenty this season about Ivan Nova’s struggles. Everybody knows the reasons at this point. He can’t locate any of his pitches consistently, he is not getting back to trying to get ground balls as opposed to strikeouts, and his attitude at times has been in question. Nova has been by far the worst Yankees starter this season and has been consistently miserable besides in the month of June. Nova now owns a 4.92 ERA and continues to lead MLB in extra-base hits allowed after yesterdays latest disaster in Chicago. The question at this point is what can the Yankees do? With the division lead down to four games they need to be more proactive.
Mercifully, CC Sabathia is scheduled to return on Friday, which should help bring better consistency back to the rotation. What might seem obvious to everybody is to insert David Phelps into the rotation for Nova. Phelps has been great this year in any role the Yankees have asked him to play, as he has a 2.69 ERA. However, the problem with inserting Phelps into the rotation is that Nova is unlikely to help you in the bullpen, and the Yankees really need help there as well. With Joba Chamberlian’s struggles the Yankees have nobody in their pen they can really count on outside of David Robertson and Rafael Soriano. Boone Logan has a 7.43 ERA for almost two months now, Cody Eppley has 5.40 ERA in August, and Derek Lowe probably came back down to earth in his last outing. The bullpen has had two major implosions over the last two weeks to cost the Yankees wins.
Sabathia coming back on Friday combined with tomorrow’s off day gives the Yankees a chance to skip Nova’s turn and let Phelps make another start. They could even skip him twice with an off day next week if they felt he needed more tutoring. They could then return Phelps to the bullpen for the stretch run where he will be needed, especially for the postseason. A playoff rotation of Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, Andy Pettitte, and Phil Hughes is very solid. Phelps would be of much better use in the bullpen, as he could get high leverage outs later in games or come on early in the game if a starting pitcher struggles. But for now it makes sense for Phelps to stay in the rotation for another turn or two while they try to fix Nova.
Ivan Nova has been one of the biggest disappointments on the Yankees this season. Nova finished 2010 16-4 ,with a 3.70 ERA and the Yankees were looking forward to a home-grown pitcher possibly becoming a #2 starter for them. Some of these expectations were unreasonable for this season, but Nova has completely imploded to the point where you have a lot more questions than answers moving forward.
Nova is 10-6 on the season, with a 4.81 ERA and leads MLB with 71 extra base hits allowed. Nova is only 15 extra base hits given up away from Andy Hawkins’ 1989 franchise record. My biggest concern about Nova coming into this season that he had gotten a little bit lucky last season. His FIP was 4.36 compared to his 3.70 ERA. A pitcher who only has 5.57 K/9 compared to 3.64 BB/9 generally does not have the success that Nova had. However, this season Nova has turned that around completely by having 8.07 K/9 and 2.80 BB/9, yet has been awful.
What we have figured out about Nova this year is that less is more. Nova has actually been throwing harder and has better stuff last year, but has been brutal. Nova’s bread and butter last year was inducing ground balls off his sinking fastball. This year his GB% is down to 46.4% from 52.7% last year. Nova is also throwing his slider and curveball about 4% more each and his fastball % is down 54.1% from 61.5% last season. Throwing more curves and sliders has allowed Nova to get more strikeouts, but when he misses with those pitches, especially his slider, he gets tattooed. Nova’s walks are down this year but he has been very wild in the zone, which has caused him to give up all th extra base hits that he has.
Nova has got to get his fastball back down in the zone where he can induce more ground balls. He cannot live up in the zone like Phil Hughes can because he does not have the deceptive delivery that Hughes does and it even gets Hughes in trouble at times. Nova is still young and has the tools to be a solid #3 starter in the future. He seems to have maturity issues that he needs to overcome as well. In many ways his season this year has resembled AJ Burnett in his Yankee seasons. While Burnett walked more people than Nova has, he gave up the extra base hits that Nova, was wild in the zone, and had some maturity issues. One thing Nova can learn from Burnett was how he took the heat after every loss. As bad as Burnett was he deserves credit for taking responsibility and the blame. That was something Nova refused to do after his embarrassing start against the Orioles last week.
There is not much the Yankees can do with Nova at this juncture. Their only viable replacement is David Phelps and he is not stretched out to be a starter. The Yankees will probably have to ride Nova out and if he continues to pitch like this it will be very hard to keep winning streaks. It is may be more important for the Yankees to get Nova right for the long term rather than the short term. Between CC Sabathia, hopefully Andy Pettitte, Hiroki Kuroda, and Phil Hughes the Yankees have enough pitching to win in the playoffs without Nova. Nova is a big part of the developing young and cheap pitchers plan this year. Between his and Dellin Betances’ struggles and injuries to Michael Pineda, Manny Banuelos and Jose Campos that plan has gone awful this year.
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.