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Morning Bits: Martin’s bad year could be good, A-Rod confident Yanks will improve & more

Good morning. Yankees finally got a win after holding on from a late rally from the Tigers.  Today is a day game as Kuroda will face Fister.  First pitch is set for 1:05 EST.

Enjoy the game.  Now for some links….

Marchand of ESPN NY writes that Marin’s bad year could be good.

Hoch has some tidbits about the Yankees including: A-Rod confident Yanks will improve, Granderson struggles prompts lineup changes and more.

– From the Times-Tribune the Scranton WB (AAA) Yanks won yesterday 7-3.

– A website I found online could Stadium Journey ranks the stadium experience of Yankee Stadium.  Check it out and see if you agree.

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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: Sabathia, Martin, Chamberlain, Mariners

Good morning everyone and Happy Saturday to you all! Yankees and Mariners will play at 1:05 today, so make sure you watch! Now onto the morning links!

– For the first time since April 11, Russell Martin caught CC Sabathia last night and although it didn’t look like CC actually needed a catcher (other than to play catch), it was still nice to see them together again.

– While a lot of fans doubted that Joba Chamberlain could return to the Yankees this season after a trampoline accident on top of Tommy John Surgery, there was one person that believed he could return–Chamberlain’s father.

– Lohud Yankees wrote about how the Mariners have been linked to the Yankees yesterday and it’s no surprise that it’s due to the multiple trades the 2 teams have done. Now–if only we could see how the Montero/Pineda trade would have went.

Spanning the Yankee Blogs: Nova, Joba, Ichiro, Martin

* An A-blog for A-Rod writes that extra base hits are still a problem for Nova.

* Bleeding Yankee Blue looks at the rise of Joba Chamberlain.

* Bronx Baseball Daily looks into why Andrew McCutchen is MLB’s best player.

* Lady Loves Pinstripes has her power rankings for week 15.

* Pinstripe Alley has the staff analysis of Ichiro trade.

* River Ave Blues is scouting the trade market with Shawn Camp.

* The Captain’s Blog takes a look into the MLB draft.

* The Yankee Analysts has a good write up on the Yankees who got away.

* Yanks Go Yard looks into the sabermetrics of Russell Martin.

Morning Bits: Martin, Teixeira, Midseason Report Cards

Good morning everyone and Happy Saturday to you all. Yankees play a day game today! First pitch at 1:05 and Freddy Garcia is on the mound. Here’s today’s morning links. 

– Russell Martin plans to turn the page on the second half of the season after an abysmal first half. Well, he did a great job last night trying to turn the page.

– Mark Teixeira says that there are “no excuses” after the All-Star break. Looks like it’s time for the Yankees to be in it to win it.

– During the All-Star break, everyone graded the New York Yankees. Now it’s the Daily News’s turn to see who was at the top of their class halfway through the season.

Teixeira & Martin bail out Kuroda as Yanks slip past Angels 6-5

The Yankees ended the first half of the season right with a win and they started the second half of the season with a win as well. While Kuroda faltered for the Yankees towards the end, Mark Teixeira and Russell Martin were able to bail him out as the Yankees beat the Angels in the series opener 6-5.

The Yankees started the game behind in the 3rd when Eric Aybar hit a solo shot. That was when Mark Teixeira hit the first of his 2 home runs of the game. The 2 run shot by Teixeira made it 2-1 New York in the 3rd. In the top of the 7th inning, Mark Trumbo hit a 3 run shot which made the game 4-2 Angels. The Yankees had a chance the previous inning but stranded Granderson after a lead-off triple. The Angels would score one more off Kuroda in the 8th inning before being taken out for Chad Qualls who has pitched brilliantly since coming to New York in that trade with the Phillies.  The Yankees had a Hollywood 8th inning as Mark Teixeira hit his second HR of the evening which tied the game at 5. Russell Martin couldn’t have written a better script for how this game went even if he tried. After fighting off some pitches, Martin had a go-ahead RBI single which plated Dewayne Wise.

Martin was also fantastic defensively as he was able to catch Mark Trumbo, Alberto Callapso and Howie Kendrick stealing, the latter ending the game for the Yankees and securing Rafael Soriano‘s 21st season save.

Tomorrow the Yankees will face the Angels in an afternoon game. Freddy Garcia will be on the mound for the Yankees. First pitch is at 1:05pm.

Morning Bits: 42 games, Martin, Autographs

Good morning everyone and Happy Sunday. Yesterday’s second game vs. the Red Sox was very embarrassing and still has a lot of fans angry. Hopefully Yankees can take the series tonight. Here are the morning links.

– On May 21, the Yankees were 21-21 and had a lot of questions going on about their rotation, their hitting etc. 42 games later and the Yankees are at the top of the AL East and the questions just seemed to vanish.

– One of the very few things that went good for the Yankees in the nightcap of the game–Russell Martin got a hit which ends his 0 for 30 skid. Nick Swisher broke his 0 for 17 skid in the day game after hitting a HR.

– Joe Girardi, Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, David Robertson, CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira (and some of the New York Mets) recall the first time they ever had to sign an autograph.

Yankees Catching is a mess

Is it time for the feisty Cervelli?

Joe Girardi has made it clear that he prefers a defensive-first catcher.  Offensive backstop Jorge Posada was switched to DH and shown the door and Jesus Montero was never given a chance and traded before the season.  Even the backup catcher of the last 3 years, Francisco Cervelli was replaced this ST because of his defensive shortcomings.  What we are left with is a tandem of Russell Martin & Chris Stewart that has been one of the worst units in the American League.

Yankee catchers are in the bottom 3 in the A.L. in every offensive category combining to hit .204/.296/.340/.635.  Both Stewart and Martin have been positively rotten at the plate.  Martin has a 72 OPS+ (100 is MLB average) and is hitting .178 for the season with a .297 OBP and .347 SLG%.  Stewart has a respectable .270 BA but his OBP is even worse than Martin’s (.295) and has only 3 extra base hits for a .311 SLG% and atrocious 63 OPS+.  Only Tampa Bay has worse hitting catchers in the A.L.

But the offense might be bearable if they were getting great defense but that has not been the case lately.  Martin has allowed more Stolen Bases (39 in 51 attempts) than every A.L. catcher except noodle-armed Jarod Saltamachia and Stewart has allowed 10 of 14 to steal.  Stewart was brought on for his defense yet has made 4 errors and had 5 Passed Balls in 197 innings caught.  Compare that to Martin’s 4 errors and 4 PBs in 525 innings and it’s clear Stewart has not been good defensively.

Martin’s season has been atrocious all year but he was hitting better in late May-early June when he hit .343 with 4 HRs over an 11-game period that raised his season OPS to .781.  It seemed Martin had found his stroke and was ready to build on that.  But shortly after that he injured his back in a collision at the plate and it’s clearly hindering him.  He sat out several games but it obviously wasn’t enough because he has not had a hit in his last 27 ABs and has just 3 hits in his last 44 ABs.  He’s also not playing good defense.  Tampa bay clearly identified him as a weaknes and set out to exploit him.  In Game 2 they stole 5 of 5 bases against him including a Little League steal of home.  he also dropped the ball on a play at the plate and threw a ball into CF for 2 errors.  In the final game they stole 3 more bases including one instance when Ben Zobrist got such a bad jump off the pitcher that Martin froze and didn’t know if he should throw the ball to 1st or 2nd but did nothing and Zobrist strolled into 2nd.

I don’t think there is a better Catcher on the market for Cashman to acquire right now.  However, it is clear that Martin is not himself right now and he is a detriment to the team.  Whether it’s his bad back causing this, general mid-season fatigue or if he’s starting to let his offensive troubles hinder his defense – it’s clear Martin needs a break.  I believe they need to either DL Martin or just sit him for a while.  Call up Cervelli from Triple A to give Martin a rest and see if Cervelli can spark something.  He’s only hitting .248 in AAA but his energy can provide a jolt and pitchers always like throwing to him.  In his 3 years with the Yanks, he’s hit a solid .272 with a .338 OBP% and 84 OPS+.  Not great offensive #s but better than what the team is getting now and Cisco has always had a knack for getting the big hit.  He’s hit .315 with a .376 OBP with RISP and a remarkable .450 with the bases loaded.

At this point can Cervelli be worse than what the team has now?  And if Martin isn’t 100%, let’s give him the time he needs to heal since he’s definitely capable of being a solid catcher offensively & defensively if he’s healthy.  Right now, I’m just glad he turned Cashman down this Spring when he offered a 3 year deal.   Is there any Catcher on the market that can even help? Carlos Ruiz is awesome but why would Philly trade him? What do you think? Should Cash make a trade for a Catcher, go with Cervelli for a while or ride it out?

Morning Bits: Red Sox, Robertson, Martin, Stats

Good morning all.  Glad to see the Yankees avoided getting swept against the Rays.   Today is an off day before the Yankees begin a series with the Boston Red Sox.

Enjoy some links as you get ready for the morning…..

– Yesterday the Yankees added versatile outfielder Darnell McDonald.  Adam Berry of mlb.com has the story.

Berry has another articles about how Girardi is being patient despite Martin’s struggles. (Who do you want in the catcher position next year?)

Steven Miller of mlb.com has the preview of Friday’s matchup.  On the mound will be Kuroda vs Beckett.

Katie Sharp of ESPN stats has an article filled with statistics from the Rays series.

Wallace Matthews of ESPN NY has the rapid reaction of last nights game.

– Yankees manager Girardi has a lot of nice things to say about Robertson writes Mark Feinsand of The Daily News.

Morning Bits: Martin bad, Rob Thomson takes blame, Chamberlin taking baby steps

Good morning all and a Happy 4th of July!!!!  Another tough loss last night as so many little things could have changed that outcome of the game.  Martin had a poor game and is having a horrible year.   Today’s game is a 3:10 start. On the mound for the Rays is David Price and for the Yankees it will be David Phelps.

Enjoy the day.   Now let’s get to the links….

Wallace Matthews of ESPN NY has the details of how poorly Russell Martin has been this year.

Matthews has another article where third base coach Rob Thomson wants to take the blame for last night.

Adam Berry of MLB.COM has the recap of last nights game.

David Waldstein of The New York Times writes Led by Martin, Yankees make another mess.

Mark Feinsand of The Daily News has the scoop of the progress of Joba Chamberlin.

Josh Horton has the recap of last nights 6-5 loss for Scranton Yankees.

Martin’s 2 errors costs Yanks as they fall to Rays 7-4

Yesterday it was Mark Teixeira’s error that cost the game. Tonight it was Russell Martin and his 2 errors that cost the Yankees the game as they fell to the Rays 7-4.

Ivan Nova started the game for the Yankees, but he wasn’t at his sharpest giving up 6 runs (3 were earned) in 6 innings plus. 3 of the runs should not have scored but Russell Martin botched a throw home by Dewayne Wise in the 3rd which helped the Rays tie the game. Later in the 7th inning, Martin threw a ball into center field which allowed another run to score. Not only has Martin been dismal at the plate but his defense was off tonight as well.

Chad Qualls allowed a run of his own to score in the 7th inning which led to the Yankees falling behind to the Rays. The Yankees originally had given Nova a 3 run lead after the first two innings on Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano RBI doubles and a Dewayne Wise HR. The 4th run scored on an Eric Chavez double.

Tomorrow the Yankees play an afternoon game at 3:10pm where it’s the battle of the David’s. David Price will go for the Tampa Bay Rays and David Phelps will go for the Yankees in hopes to prevent the Rays from sweeping the Yankees.

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?

Morning Bits: Martin, Home Runs, Teixeira

Good morning everyone and a Happy Sunday to you all! Tonight is an ESPN game (hey, better than FOX) and will begin at 8pm which means there’s a good day of baseball ahead from the other 28 teams. Let’s get onto the morning links!

– Russell Martin had a stiff back last night which prompted Dewayne Wise to pinch hit for him and for Chris Stewart to catch for him. But Russell Martin isn’t concerned about his back.

– Same story, different day: The Yankees continue to rely on the home run ball to win games. Why is it a problem? Because they have the issue of not hitting with runners in scoring position. Trust me NY Daily News…the fans have noticed how bad we are when it comes to small ball.

– Coming into tonight’s game, Mark Texieria has a game plan. He plans on batting left handed vs. R.A Dickey.

How the players are performing in 2012…so far

When the Yankees were playing horrible baseball in the month of May, you would have thought Brett Gardner‘s prediction of the Yankees winning 100 games in the season was complete hogwash. Now as the Yankees are about to close the door on June, Gardner’s prediction seems a little more believable as the Yankees have now notched 41 wins this season. The ironic part of all this though is that Gardner has not played in a game since April 17 when he injured his arm while making a diving catch. With Gardner out of the lineup, more players have stepped up and some have…well…faltered.

Derek Jeter (COOL): When Derek Jeter first started the season he was getting base hit after base hit; he was even as far as .400 in the beginning of May. Since then, Jeter’s average has cooled down to where his average is close to .300. Derek Jeter’s baseball lately…he looks like the Derek Jeter in the beginning of the 2011 season (you know, before the 3,000 hits).

Curtis Granderson (HOT): Curtis Granderson’s batting average I admit isn’t the greatest average in the world, but he already has 20 HR’s and the first half of the season isn’t over yet! Granderson is on pace to hit 40 HR’s but he continues to consider himself a non home run hitter. Curtis, you’re not fooling us. That bat of yours is H-O-T!

Mark Teixeira (COOL): Mark Teixeira’s bat in the beginning of the season was…eh. Teixeira seems to be getting his bat together now and is getting key hits when the Yankees rely on it. Teixeira is still working on the RISP hitting, but he seems to have no trouble hitting the ball out of the park.

Alex Rodriguez (COOL): Alex Rodriguez’s bat has also been pretty cool to begin the first half of the season. In April, A-Rod had a .244 average which followed a .314 average in May. However in June A-Rod seems to have cooled down again, in which he’s only hitting .214. A-Rod’s bat better heat up soon or else…

Robinson Cano (HOT): Robinson Cano was off to an odd slow start for the Yankees but he seemed to have picked it up as he is now hitting close to.300. Cano’s power is still there since so far this season he has hit 14 HR’s. Hopefully Cano can show some more power towards July and August.

Nick Swisher (COOL): Nick Swisher has been on an up and down ride this season. In this case, he can’t seem to keep himself healthy. Swisher had 3 calf issues, the latter coming from last week in the Nationals series. Number wise, Swisher has been driving guys home. He has 42 RBI’s so far in the season.

Russell Martin (COLD): How do I put this nicely about a great defensive catcher that knows how to call games? Well, Russell Martin is struggling; BADLY! Russell Martin is BARELY above the Mendonza line with a .205 batting average, however lately he has been driving the ball for power. 3 HR’s in 3 games isn’t bad. He does however have to get his act together.

Raul Ibanez (WARM) : Raul Ibanez has done a great job for the Yankees so far this season. Ibanez wasn’t supposed to play a lot of left field  this season but since Gardner got hurt, he had done great. Is he a defender in LF like Gardner? No. But his bat makes up for it.

Andruw Jones (COLD): When Andruw Jones platoons with Raul Ibanez, it drives me insane. With his bat…he has done very little. He like Russell Martin has a .206 average but we have to take into account that Martin has  more at bats than Jones. But for a platoon power player on the bench…it seems Jones is either a hit it out or out kind of player.

Brett Gardner (MHP): MHP meaning missing his playing. Gardner only played 9 games this season for the Yankees but he had a hot bat coming into the season with a .321 average. I’m somewhat hoping that when he returns he does what A-Rod did in 2009; a first at bat, first pitch homer into the left field seats for 3 runs. What? I can dream can’t I?

It will be very interesting to see how the Yankees team will play out for the rest of the season but we all know that the work isn’t over until the Yankees reach the ultimate prize; a World Series ring.

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

Yankees win thriller in extra-innings to extend streak to 8

Yankees 1B Mark Teixeira plates 2 in the 14th inning in the Yankees 5-3 win over the Nationals

The Yankees were in a back and forth thriller with the Nationals all throughout the afternoon but in the end of the 4 hour game, the Yankees came out on top (and won their first game without hitting a HR).

The Nationals scored first off of starter Andy Pettitte when Jesus Flores doubled which sent home Michael Morse & Tyler Moore. The Yankees were able to get one of the runs back on an error that let Eric Chavez go to first and let Nick Swisher score. Swisher later left the game with a left calf contusion. The Yankees got their 2nd and 3rd runs during the 6th inning when Raul Ibanez plated Robinson Cano on an RBI ground out and when Eric Chavez doubled off the right field wall which plated Russell Martin.

The Yankees were in line to win in the 8th and Andy Pettitte was slated to get the win–until Cory Wade gave up a HR to Ian Desmond which had the Yankees in a back and forth battle with the Nationals until the 14th inning when Mark Teixeira hit a double which plated both Jason Nix & Derek Jeter. Rafael Soriano got the save and Freddy Garcia received the win.

Tomorrow Ivan Nova takes the mound for the Yankees as the Yanks (once again) tries to sweep the series. The Yankees have already swept the New York Mets & the Atlanta Braves.

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