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Wild Card Watch: September 3, 2013

Good morning Yankees fans! I am back with another Wild Card Watch! Yesterday the Yankees were 3.5 games back and needed to gain some ground. Did they? Here’s the results from last night along with the final scores of our Wild Card contending teams:

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Wild Card Final Scores (WC Teams are in BOLD):

White Sox 1, Yankees 9: David Huff pitched 5.1 IP of one run ball, Derek Jeter drove in two runs and the Yankees scored a season high 8 runs in the 4th inning as they demolished the White Sox 9-1 to take game one of the three game set. Tonight’s pitching match-up: Chris Sale (10-12, 2.99 ERA) vs. Hiroki Kuroda (11-10, 2.89 ERA)

Rays 2, Angels 11: Erick Aybar had a big night for the Angels, hitting a two-run homer and a two-run triple, Grant Green had his first MLB home run and Garret Richards navigated after a shaky start as the Angels hand the Rays their fifth straight loss with a 11-2 victory. Tonight’s pitching match-up: Matt Moore (14-3, 3.41 ERA) vs. Jason Vargas (8-5, 3.54 ERA).

Orioles 7, Indians 2: Nate McLouth and Matt Weiters both hit two-run HR’s and Bud Norris pitched seven innings of one run ball as the Orioles beat the Indians 7-2. Tonight’s pitching match-up: Chris Tillman (15-4, 3.61 ERA) vs. Ubaldo Jimenez (9-9, 3.95 ERA).

Rangers 2, Athletics 4: Coco Crisp hit the game deciding home run and Yoenis Cespedes HR’d as the A’s win 4-2. The Rangers and Angels are now tied for first in the AL West (which is why the Rangers are in the Wild Card standings. Tonight’s match-up: Martin Perez (8-3, 3.58 ERA) vs. Bartolo Colon (14-5, 2.94 ERA).

Royals 3, Mariners 1: Royals reliever Will Smith tossed 4.1 IP after starter Danny Duffy left the game in the fourth inning and the Royals got to King Felix, scoring three runs including a Mike Moustakas single as the Royals beat the Mariners 3-1. Tonight’s pitching match-up: Erasmo Ramirez (5-1, 5.18 ERA) vs. Bruce Chen (6-2, 2.79 ERA).

Come back tomorrow for another Wild Card Update!

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Wild Card Watch: September 2, 2013

Last night on Twitter I asked my followers if they would prefer that I placed the Wild Card standings on my Twitter account and I got a huge response. All of the answers were yes. So I decided why not do a Wild Card Watch on Yankees Fans Unite as well? That way we can keep tabs on where the Yankees are for the rest of the month, dissecting what the Yankees have to do in order to get the second Wild Card spot. Here was the Wild Card standings from last night, since all the teams that are in the Wild Card race played afternoon games.

BTHeQjaIcAAc33tThe good news is, the Yankees didn’t lose any ground for the second Wild Card spot. The Tampa Bay Rays lost so the Yankees are still 3.5 in the race. The bad news (for now) is that Baltimore and Cleveland leapfrogged over the Yankees for the other two spots. Now, the reason I say it was bad news for now is because a brand new series means brand new teams play against one another. Yankees will host the Chicago White Sox for three games and the Cleveland Indians will host–the Baltimore Orioles. The Yankees have a chance to once again leapfrog over Baltimore and Cleveland since one of those teams in the Wild Card race would have to lose the games and the series. Now, the White Sox are no pushovers for the Yankees since they have Jose Quintana, Chris Sale and Hector Santiago going in that series, but the Yankees have a slightly different team and the offense clicked as of late. What will happen on Labor Day? Hopefully the Yankees labor their way to a victory, then hold their breath to hope either Baltimore or Cleveland lose the game, then hold their breath and hope the Rays lose their game. Yankees can’t fall backwards. It’s only going forwards from here. Come back to the blog tomorrow for another Wild Card Watch.

Yankees Road Through September (and maybe the playoffs)?

Robinson Cano and the Yankees have a tough task in September--get into the wild card race anyway they can

Robinson Cano and the Yankees have a tough task in September–get into the wild card race anyway they can

The Yankees have 29 games left this season, and they gained a half game yesterday without playing a game (thanks Angels and Tigers). As the Baltimore Orioles come into town this weekend, the schedule for the Yankees in September will tell them just how much of a playoff contending team they are. Here’s a preview of the September calendar, and where the Yankees could stand at the end of the month.

August 30 – September 1

Baltimore Orioles vs. New York Yankees

The Baltimore Orioles pitching is a bit sketchy, but they can survive sketchy pitching with their lineup. With the power bat of Chris Davis and the ability for the rest of team to scratch out runs, the Yankees are in for the fight of their life this weekend. This series won’t be easy but the Yankees have added Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, and Robinson Cano should he be well enough to play at some point this weekend. The Yankees need to at least take two out of three in this series, which means that CC Sabathia, Phil Hughes and Ivan Nova need to step up and pitch well (Nova has done that this season, the sentence was more for Hughes and Sabathia). Also a word of advice, if the Yankees want a chance to take the series, I’d suggest taking Hughes out of the rotation and put David Huff to start instead. Just because David Huff combined with his last two outings had pitched a full game giving up no runs and one hit. I’d sign up for that instead of home runs and runs from Hughes.

September 2 – September 4

Chicago White Sox vs. New York Yankees

The last time these two teams faced one another, the White Sox swept the Yankees in three games. This time it should be a bit different since we didn’t have any power bats in our lineup at the time (minus Robinson Cano). This White Sox team is a bit different since they gave up a lot of their key players during the season to contending teams, so it should be an easier battle this time around. If all goes according to plan, the best case scenario would be to take two out of three. I’d be greedy saying I want the sweep, but hey…don’t we all?

September 5 – September 8

Boston Red Sox vs. New York Yankees

The Red Sox and Yankees were the highlight of ESPN baseball two weeks ago when the Red Sox woke up the Yankees after an intentionally pitch to Alex Rodriguez hit him in his ribs. This time it’s a four game set at Yankee Stadium and the Red Sox will have to face off against the Yankees once again. The Yankees took two out of three last time due to great pitching and timely hitting. The Yankees need to have the same formula coming into the series. The keys to this series: keep Jacoby Ellsbury off base since he’s the Red Sox version of Brett Gardner and find a way to get David Ortiz out anyway they can. (As of the morning of August 30, Ortiz has been in a slump going 0 for his last 23). This series is crucial. The Yankees need to at least take two out of the four games.

September 9 – September 12

New York Yankees vs. Baltimore Orioles

The Yankees go from one four game series to another four game series, this time traveling to Camden Yards for this four game set vs. the Orioles. Keys to the rest of the Orioles series is simple: Don’t give them anything to hit, especially Chris Davis. One mistake and it could go out to Eutaw street faster than you can say “Mariano Rivera“. Which means I strongly advise Joe Girardi to again not play Phil Hughes. Don’t know how many times I’m going to have to say this.

September 13 – September 15

New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox

After the Orioles series, the Yankees go to Boston and play another series at Fenway. Yep, same old same old Yankees vs. Red Sox. But this has more on the line for the Yankees than it does for the Red Sox. Let’s just say find a way to stop the Red Sox bats, score some runs, take two out of three and get the heck out of there? Sound good? Good.

September 17 – September 19

New York Yankees vs. Toronto Blue Jays

The Yankees go to Canada to play the Toronto Blue Jays in their final showdown this season. The Yankees have owned the Blue Jays this season, minus the most recent series where the Blue Jays took two out of three from the Yankees. Well, the Yankees will be looking for a vengeance. Key to this series: Keep the power hitters at bay, don’t walk Jose Reyes and Rajai Davis–and try to get to the Blue Jays pitching. The Yankees have the discipline to do so and have proved it in the past.

September 20 – September 22

San Francisco Giants vs. New York Yankees

All right, who made this schedule? An interleague game at the end of the year? Anyway, back to the topic at hand: The Giants this year–aren’t very good (and that’s an understatement). The Yankees could have themselves a two out of three series (or maybe a sweep) if the Yankees run into bad pitching, which the Giants have had this season. Well, we don’t know when the Giants will come back to Yankee Stadium so we might as well enjoy this series (that and we could see how starstruck the players get when they run into Mariano Rivera).

September 24 – September 26

Tampa Bay Rays vs. New York Yankees

The final series at Yankee Stadium for the 2013 season is against the Tampa Bay Rays who have the pitching to get them where they need to be if they make the first wild card spot. The keys to this series is simple: Don’t give any of the power hitters (and there are some power hitters) anything good to hit. That includes Evan Longoria, Ben Zobrist, Matt Joyce…you get the picture. It’s also important to stay patient with the pitchers.  You never know when you can get into their bullpen which has had an up and down year.

September 27 – September 29

New York Yankees vs. Houston Astros

The final series of the season takes the Yankees to Texas, but not to face the Rangers. Instead, they will face the Houston Astros. Honestly, if the Yankees can’t sweep the Astros, then we don’t deserve to be contending. The Houston Astros are a minor league team in the Major Leagues, and that’s me putting it as nicely as I can. Depending where the Yankees are in the wild card standings at this point in the season, this series is important. This series could make or break the chances of getting into the playoffs if the race is that close in the end.

Yankees Offseason Notes: Yankees get $115,065.28 for Postseason

There hasn’t been a lot of Yankees news going around–until today. For the Bronx Bombers, it pays to be in the postseason.

– The New York Yankees are going to get $115,065.28 for playing in the 2012 postseason. That was for making it to the ALCS. The San Francisco Giants get the most money out of the players that played in the postseason since they won the World Series with $337,002.64. That’s the most made in the postseason for a team that won the World Series. The Texas Rangers and the Atlanta Braves also got a piece of some money, the Rangers making $16,999.09 and the Braves making $19,609.04. And for those asking, yes Alex Rodriguez will get a share of that money just for striking out and doing nothing.

In Other News

– The New York Yankees signed catcher Eli Whiteside to  a one year contract, avoiding arbitration. I still don’t get the point of trading for Eli Whiteside when they have Chris Stewart and Francisco Cervelli.

– The Yankees are going after Russell Martin, but Russell Martin has visited other cities for teams that have interest in him. Martin however did say that he is interested in playing for the Yankees next season.

Andy Pettitte is slated to make a decision soon but according to Mark Feinsand of the Daily News, Pettitte has already started training.

In News Around The League

– Here’s the shocker that made me spit my coffee out this morning: The Tampa Bay Rays extended Evan Longoria‘s contract until the year 2022. Ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce to you: Alex Rodriguez 2.0. It will be interesting to see how this contract turns out.

Morning Bits: Cano hurt or giving up?, A.L. East Race, Jeter & More…

Well the Yankee ship is in some rough waters.  Do they make it out of the storm or will the ship sink?  The Yankees are now only 1 game up on the O’s and 2.5 games up on the Rays.  Tonight’s matchup is Garcia vs Cobb and first pitch is scheduled for 7PM EST.

Enjoy.  Now for some links….

Wallace Matthews asks – Did Cano hurt himself or give up on Monday’s biggest play?  What do you guys think?

Wallace Mattthews also has an article with some quotes from Jeter who is not panicking just yet.

Hal Bodley of MLB.com writes that the A.L. race is September baseball at it’s best.

SWB Yankees have won the division title for the 5th time in 6 years.

– The Trenton Thunder when the Finale. They will face the Reading Phillies in the playoffs.

Morning Bits: Kuroda, Jeter

Good morning everyone and a happy Saturday to everyone. Yankees finally were able to stop their 3 game halt with CC Sabathia on the mound. Hiroki Kuroda takes the ball tonight as the Yankees try to take the series. Here are your morning links.

– Speaking of Hiroki Kuroda, could he possibly win the Cy Young award? While ESPN says he has good numbers–that’s a negative.

– We all saw Derek Jeter get hit in the head last night with a pitch and as expected, he isn’t happy about it.

– With the final month of the regular season rapidly approaching, the Yankees have a chance to once again pad their lead against the Rays and the Orioles.

Yankees Off Day Notes: Nova, Gardner, Rays

Not a lot happened in Yankees Universe today but there are some worthy notes before the Yankees series in Cleveland.

– The Yankees put Ivan Nova on the 15 day disabled list after Nova’s MRI revealed he had rotator cuff inflammation. The good news is that Nova won’t need surgery and all he will need is rest. He won’t pick up a ball for 5 days.

– Brett Gardner’s Staten Island Yankees jersey number was retired today which means no other SI Yanks player can ever wear the #6 again. The first 2,500 fans at the stadium received a Gardner jersey for the final time and the night will end with fireworks.

– If you are watching baseball tonight, I suggest you watch the Oakland A’s and the Tampa Bay Rays. But please, root for the A’s. Rooting for the Rays means a 3 game lead cut to 2.5 games.

Game 117 Lineup: Rangers vs. Yankees

Lineup vs. Yankees:

Derek Jeter SS
Nick Swisher 1B
Curtis Granderson CF
Mark Teixeira DH
Eric Chavez 3B
Raul Ibanez LF
Russell Martin C
Ichiro Suzuki LF
Jayson Nix 2B

Freddy Garcia RHP

Pregame Notes:

– A lot has happened in Major League Baseball today but let’s start with the Yankees. Robinson Cano was scratched from the lineup with a stiff neck and now Jayson Nix will play 2nd base.

Melky Cabrera‘s 50 game suspension for using PED’s took the Yankees by surprise. Here was what Joe Girardi, Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter and Robinson Cano all had to say about Melky’s suspension:

Joe Girardi: “Anger doesn’t come to my mind. Disappointment comes to my mind because Melky meant a lot to us and we all enjoyed being around him. We know he’s going to miss 50 games and it’s before his free agent year. It’s unfortunate.”

Robinson Cano: “Oh, 100 percent surprised, I was just here in my chair when I was watching the news. … I don’t know man, I never used any of those. I don’t know any details about it. I just see the news. I’m just sad about it, and I’m going to be there for him.”

Derek Jeter: “I don’t know if you can be more surprised. I don’t know if you can measure it, more surprised for him as opposed to somebody (else). It’s just surprising in general. … I played with Melky, so I always thought he was a good player. I know Melky’s very talented. He has a lot of great tools. He played well for us when he was here. He played well in Kansas City when he went to Kansas City. And he’s played well in San Francisco. Melky’s always been talented.”

Alex Rodriguez: “From my experience, I saw where he made a statement, that’s always a good first step. And sometimes the hardest. But I think he has an opportunity, being a young player. But with that said, it’s also going to be a challenge. I hope he takes the bull by the horns and does some great things, and I’m a believer. I’m a friend. And at times like this, I’m not going to turn my back, I’m 100 percent here to support him.”

– I was around the computer all afternoon but the lineup wasn’t posted sooner because there was something a little more interesting on television: The Rays and Mariners. The surprising part that it was the Mariners that I was looking out for. Felix Hernandez threw his first perfect game against the Rays and a 1-0 victory. Jesus Montero scored the only run in the game with a base hit. So congratulations King Felix.

– And on a final note, it’s raining cats and dogs. I seriously doubt the Yankees are starting the game on time.

UPDATE

– It’s not as big news as Melky Cabrera or King Felix but Brett Gardner will get his Staten Island Yankee jersey retired. The ceremony will be at the Staten Island Yankees home ballpark and Gardner will be in attendance on August 23. Congratulations are in order for Brett Gardner!

Series Preview: Yankees at Rays | 7/2/12-7/4/12

Pitching Matchups

Monday, 7/2/12, 7:10pm ET

Pitching for the Yankees: Freddy Garcia, RHP
Last Appearance (has been in bullpen): 2.1 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 0 BB, 2 K, 0 HR
On the Season: 2-2, 6.39 ERA / 4.12 FIP / 4.03 xFIP, 6.68 K/9, 2.32 BB/9 in 31.0 IP

Pitching for the Rays: Matt Moore, LHP
Last Start: 7.1 IP, 4 ER, 10 H, 5 K, 2 BB, 2 HR
On the Season: 4-5, 4.19 ERA / 4.46 FIP / 4.26 xFIP, 9.20 K/9, 4.30 BB/9 in 88.0 IP

Tuesday, 7/3/12, 7:10pm ET

Pitching for the Yankees: Ivan Nova, RHP
Last Start: 7.1 IP, 1 ER, 6 H, 5 K, 3 BB, 1 HR
On the Season: 9-2, 4.03 ERA / 4.48 FIP / 3.87 xFIP, 7.78 K/9, 2.65 BB/9 in 98.1 IP

Pitching for the Rays: James Shields, RHP
Last Start: 7.2 IP, 4 ER, 14 H, 6 K, 1 BB, 0 HR
On the Season: 7-5, 4.04 ERA / 3.69 FIP / 3.43 xFIP, 8.51 K/9, 2.75 BB/9 in 104.2 IP

Wednesday, 7/4/12, 3:10pm ET

Pitching for the Yankees: David Phelps, RHP
Last Appearance (has been in bullpen): 3.1 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, 5 K, 1 BB, 1 HR
On the Season: 1-3, 3.16 ERA / 4.54 FIP / 3.92 xFIP, 8.27 K/9, 3.41 BB/9 in 37.0 IP

Pitching for the Rays: David Price, LHP
Last Start: 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 H, 7 K, 1 BB, 1 HR
On the Season: 11-4, 2.92 ERA / 3.41 FIP / 3.30 xFIP, 8.34 K/9, 3.01 BB/9 in 104.2 IP

NYY Offense

Who’s Hot

Robinson Cano – 12 for 29 with 2 doubles, 4 HR, 10 RBI in the last 7 days

Dewayne Wise – 7 for 14 with 1 double, 1 triple, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 1 BB in the last 7 days

Eric Chavez – 5 for 14 with 1 double, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 3 BB in the last 7 days

Who’s Not

Russell Martin – 0 for 11 with 4 K in the last 7 days

Raul Ibanez – 2 for 19 with 3 BB, 5 K in the last 7 days

— Mark Teixiera – 3 for 24 with 1 double, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 3 BB, 6 K in the last 7 days

Derek Jeter – 6 for 26 with 1 double, 1 BB, 3 K in the last 7 days

TB Offense

Who’s Hot:

Ben Zobrist – 11 for 25 with 4 doubles, 1 triple, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 2 BB in the last 7 days

Jeff Keppinger – 5 for 15 with 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 BB in the last 7 days

Who’s Not:

Luke Scott – 0 for 11 with 1 RBI, 1 BB, 4 K in the last 7 days

— BJ Upton – 2 for 26 with 1 RBI, 2 BB, 10 K in the last 7 days

Sean Rodriguez – 1 for 12 with 1 BB, 3 K in the last 7 days

Enjoy the series everyone!

Series Preview: Yankees vs. Rays | 6/5/12-6/7/12

Pitching Matchups

Tuesday, 6/5/12, 7:05pm ET

Pitching for the Yankees: Andy Pettitte, LHP
Last Start: 7.0 IP, 5 ER, 9 H, 3 K, 0 BB, 2 HR
On the Season: 2-2, 3.49 ERA / 4.75 FIP / 3.15 xFIP, 6.99 K/9, 1.59 BB/9 in 28.1 IP

Pitching for the Rays: James Shields, RHP
Last Start: 6.0 IP, 5 ER, 10 H, 8 K, 1 BB
On the Season: 6-3, 3.95 ERA / 3.58 FIP / 2.89 xFIP, 9.12 K/9, 2.71 BB/9 in 73.0 IP

Wednesday, 6/6/12, 7:05pm ET

Pitching for the Yankees: Ivan Nova, RHP
Last Start: 6.2 IP, 5 ER, 8 H, 2 K, 3 BB, 1 HR
On the Season: 6-2, 5.60 ERA / 5.01 FIP / 3.88 xFIP, 8.33 K/9, 2.87 BB/9 in 62.2 IP

Pitching for the Rays: Alex Cobb, RHP
Last Start: 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 9 H, 4 K, 1 BB, 0 HR
On the Season: 2-1, 3.71 ERA / 3.19 FIP / 4.11 xFIP, 6.35 K/9, 3.71 BB/9 in 17.0 IP

Thursday, 6/7/12, 7:05pm ET

Pitching for the Yankees: C.C. Sabathia, LHP
Last Start: 7.0 IP, 3 ER, 8 H, 5 K, 2 BB, 1 HR
On the Season: 7-2, 3.68 ERA / 3.78 FIP / 3.34 xFIP, 8.50 K/9, 2.64 BB/9 in 78.1 IP

Pitching for the Rays: David Price, LHP
Last Start: 7.1 IP, 0 ER, 4 H, 5 K, 2 BB, 0 HR
On the Season: 7-3, 2.44 ERA / 3.23 FIP / 3.41 xFIP, 7.57 K/9, 2.81 BB/9 in 73.2 IP

NYY Offense

Who’s Hot

— Derek Jeter – 7 for 20 with 1 HR, 2 RBI, 3 BB in the last 7 days

— Alex Rodriguez – 7 for 20 with 2 HR, 3 RBI, 1 BB in the last 7 days

— Eric Chavez – 4 for 13 with a double in the last 7 days

Who’s Not

— Robinson Cano – 3 for 21 with 1 triple, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 2 BB, 6 K in the last 7 days

— Mark Teixeira – 3 for 19 with 2 RBI, 2 BB, 2 K in the last 7 days

— Raul Ibanez – 3 for 16 with 1 double, 1 triple, 1 RBI, 2 K in the last 7 days

TB Offense

Who’s Hot:

— Matt Joyce – 4 for 13 with 1 double, 1 RBI, 2 BB in the last 7 days

Who’s Not (there are more than the four I mentioned below):

— Carlos Pena – 2 for 15 with 1 double, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 4 BB, 6 K in the last 7 days

— Luke Scott – 3 for 20 with 1 HR, 3 RBI, 5 K in the last 7 days

— Ben Zobrist – 3 for 19 with 1 double, 1 BB, 5 K in the last 7 days

— B.J. Upton – 3 for 18 with 1 double, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 6 K in the last 7 days

Enjoy the series!

Series Preview: Yankees vs. Rays | 5/8/12-5/10/12

Pitching Matchups

Tuesday, 5/8/12, 7:05pm ET

Pitching for the Yankees: Ivan Nova, RHP
Last Start: 6.1 IP, 5 ER, 9 H, 3 K, 4 BB, 2 HR
On the Season: 3-1, 5.58 ERA / 4.75 FIP / 3.80 xFIP, 8.22 K/9, 2.64 BB/9 in 30.2 IP

Pitching for the Rays: James Shields, RHP
Last Start: 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 H, 11 K, 4 BB, 2 HR
On the Season: 5-0, 3.05 ERA / 3.66 FIP / 2.94 xFIP, 8.49 K/9, 2.61 BB/9 in 41.1 IP

Wednesday, 5/9/12, 7:05pm ET

Pitching for the Yankees: David Phelps, RHP
Last Start: 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 H, 5 K, 0 BB, 1 HR
On the Season: 0-1, 3.74 ERA / 5.31 FIP / 3.62 xFIP, 7.89 K/9, 2.91 BB/9 in 21.2 IP

Pitching for the Rays: Jeff Niemann, RHP
Last Start: 5.2 IP, 3 ER, 7 H, 5 K, 2 BB, 0 HR
On the Season: 2-3, 4.05 ERA / 3.40 FIP / 3.60 xFIP, 8.44 K/9, 3.38 BB/9 in 26.2 IP

Thursday, 5/10/12, 7:05pm ET

Pitching for the Yankees: C.C. Sabathia, LHP
Last Start: 8.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 H, 5 K, 0 BB, 0 HR
On the Season: 4-0, 4.15 ERA / 3.09 FIP / 2.85 xFIP, 8.93 K/9, 1.87 BB/9 in 43.1 IP

Pitching for the Rays: David Price, LHP
Last Start: 8.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 12 K, 1 BB, 0 HR
On the Season: 5-1, 2.35 ERA / 2.48 FIP / 3.14 xFIP, 8.22 K/9, 2.82 BB/9 in 38.1 IP

NYY Offense

Who’s Hot

— Derek Jeter – 11 for 26 with 3 doubles, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 BB in the last 7 days

— Alex Rodriguez – 8 for 22 with 1 HR, 3 RBI, 3 BB in the last 7 days

— Curtis Granderson – 9 for 25 with 2 doubles, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 BB in the last 7 days

Who’s Not

— Mark Teixeira – 3 for 22 with 1 HR, 4 RBI, 2 BB, 3 K in the last 7 days

— Eduardo Nunez – 2 for 14 with 1 double, 1 triple, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 2 K in the last 7 days

— Robinson Cano – 6 for 25 with 1 HR, 4 RBI, 7 K in the last 7 days

TB Offense

Who’s (Somewhat) Hot:

— Matt Joyce – 6 for 21 with 1 triple, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 3 BB in the last 7 days

— Desmond Jennings – 6 for 21 with 1 triple, 3 RBI, 1 BB in the last 7 days

Who’s Not (most of the Tampa lineup):

— Carlos Pena – 2 for 19 with 1 HR, 1 RBI, 7 BB, 5 K in the last 7 days

— Ben Zobrist – 2 for 16 with 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 BB in the last 7 days

— Elliott Johnson – 2 for 15 with 1 HR, 1 RBI, 3 K in the last 7 days

Enjoy the series!

Calm Down Yankee Fans

Don’t worry about a thing,
‘Cause every little thing gonna be all right.

Take these lyrics by Bob Marley to heart Yankees fans. Everything will be okay.

I admit, these first two games have been extremely painful to watch. I’ve have had my share of swearing at the TV screen and hiding my face in my hands, be it for Joe Girardi’s horrible managing or the umpires that seemingly were bribed by the Rays. Either way, the opening to this season has been difficult to witness and of course leaves many fans in doubt and despair.

But when I hear debates of “is Mariano Rivera done?”, “are the Yankees in trouble”, and especially, “can the Mets go all the way?” I laugh them off. It’s 2 games people. 2 GAMES! It’s incredible how much people can judge on such a small sample size. And ironically, I want to be a sports writer, whose job is to stir up stories and worries like this early on.

And when I think back, there are a ton of teams – World Series champion teams – that went through rough starts, be it two games, or two months. For example, the 1998 Yankees. Ya know, the one that’s considered arguably the best team in baseball history? They started off 1-4 in ’98, and looked like one of the worst teams through the first week. Yet we all know what followed – 125 wins, Chad Curtis, sweeps, etc.

Another example is the more recent champs – the 2009 Yanks. They lost 2 of 3 (I was at game 2) to the Orioles in their opening series, then went on to lose the first game at the new Yankee Stadium, and get crushed 22-4 by the Indians. 103 wins and 19 walk off wins later, the Yankees were World Champions. Who here even remembers their slow start? I kinda didn’t until thinking about it.

In general, the Yankees aren’t falling off the face of the earth. Hiroki Kuroda is not already a bust. And the Mets aren’t going to make the playoffs. It’s been two games people. Come on. Give it a little time, and maybe as soon as tonight – the Yankees will right the ship. Trust me, it’s been rocked plenty times before.

Series Preview: Yankees at Rays | 4/6/12-4/8/12

Pitching Matchups

Friday, 4/16/12, 3:10pm ET

Pitching for the Yankees: C.C. Sabathia
Spring Training Numbers: 0-1, 5.00 ERA, 13 K, 21 H in 18.0 IP

Pitching for the Rays: James Shields
Spring Training Numbers: 3-0, 2.08 ERA, 23 K, 19 H in 21.2 IP

Saturday, 4/17/12, 7:10pm ET

Pitching for the Yankees: Hiroki Kuroda
Spring Training Numbers: 2-1, 2.92 ERA, 17 K, 23 H in 24.2 IP

Pitching for the Rays: David Price
Spring Training Numbers: 1-0, 3.13 ERA, 23 K, 20 H in 23.0 IP

Sunday, 4/18/12, 1:40pm ET

Pitching for the Yankees: Phil Hughes
Spring Training Numbers: 0-1, 1.56 ERA, 12 K, 16 H in 17.1 IP

Pitching for the Rays: Jeremy Hellickson
Spring Training Numbers: 0-2, 9.00 ERA, 10 K, 33 H in 20.0 IP

NYY Offense

Best of the Spring:

— Alex Rodriguez – .300 AVG / .390 OBP / .520 SLG, 2 HR, 14 RBI in 50 AB (19 games)

— Curtis Granderson - .383 AVG / .500 OBP / .723 SLG, 2 HR, 7 RBI in 47 AB (19 games)

Weakest of the Spring:

— Raul Ibanez – .150 AVG / .190 OBP / .333 SLG, 3 HR, 10 RBI in 60 AB (21 games)

— Brett Gardner – .214 AVG / .313 OBP / .286 SLG, 0 HR, 1 RBI, 8 SB, 0 CS in 56 AB (21 games)

TB Offense

Best of the Spring:

— Desmond Jennings – .327 AVG / .377 OBP / .531 SLG, 3 HR, 7 RBI in 49 AB (16 games)

— Evan Longoria - .283 AVG / .340 OBP / .609 SLG, 4 HR, 9 RBI in 46 AB (16 games)

Weakest of the Spring:

— Matt Joyce – .156 AVG / .229 OBP / .313 SLG, 3 HR, 7 RBI in 64 AB (23 games)

— Carlos Pena – .107 AVG / .254 OBP / .214 SLG, 1 HR, 2 RBI in 56 AB (20 games)

And with this series, regular season Yankees baseball is back! Enjoy!

 

Staff Predictions for the 2012 MLB Season

The MLB season starts tomorrow (not including those ridiculous Japan games) and the Yankees Fans Unite staff has made their predictions on the standings and awards for the 2012 MLB season. The awards will be posted tomorrow. We did the AL only since that’s what we focus on most with the Yankees.

AL East: Well let’s get this out of the way early since I know everybody is wondering. It is almost unanimous among the staff that the Yankees will win the AL East. Myself, Matt S, Mike D, Brian, Fish and Delia all have the Yankees taking the division. Mike P stands alone in taking the Rays. Mike P’s reasoning is that he thinks the Rays have the best rotation in MLB, enough hitting to support them, and they have great prospects to help them once August rolls around. Everybody who picked the Yankees likes the balance of their team among the offense, starting rotation, and bullpen and think they are no worse than their 97 win team from a year ago.

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Comparing the AL East Outfielders Defensively

The American League East is one of the toughest and fastest paced divisions in Baseball. Almost all of these teams have the potential to be American League East Champions in order to advance to the newly complicated playoffs. But just like it is fast paced and complicated for the offense, it is also fast paced and complicated for the defense, mostly the outfield. As an outfielder, you can’t second guess yourself when taking a direct route to the ball. Chances are if you second guess yourself, the chances are that the ball will drop in the outfield. When it comes to the American League East, there are a lot of Gold Glove worthy contenders, but who has the best Outfield in the AL East?

Boston Red Sox

Carl Crawford, LF: Carl Crawford is a very talented left fielder for sure, but his fielding isn’t used to the fullest of his potential because of one little flaw in Fenway Park; The Green Monster. What would normally be a HR in Yankee Stadium for example would go off the high wall and end up a double, and because of the angle the Green Monster makes, it makes fielding more difficult for Crawford. In 2010 with the Rays he had 7 assists and 2 errors. In 2011 with the Red Sox, he had 1 assist and 3 errors. Different ballparks make a difference, don’t they?

Jacoby Ellsbury, CF: I don’t usually offer much praise to the Red Sox, but when Jacoby Ellsbury is in CF it is a complete delight to watch what he’s going to do next. Ellsbury is a Gold Glove contender for sure, after all in 2011 he had 6 assists, 3 Double Plays and no errors. Ellsbury is what makes the Red Sox have a good outfield. Without him, there wouldn’t even be consideration as to who would have the best outfield in the AL East.

Darnell McDonald, RF: Typically a center fielder, McDonald played everywhere in the 2011 season but he mostly played right field. While he was a right fielder, he only had 1 assist and 1 error which isn’t a bad number at all. McDonald for the Red Sox would have been more of a utility outfielder. He was good at fielding, but with Cody Ross now in the picture, McDonald’s playing time might soon be lessened.

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Previewing The Yankees 2012 Season: April

 

Spring Training will come and go before we know it and once Spring Training is over, that is when the Yankees have to focus on their Chase for 28. In April 2012, the Yankees will face 7 teams and all of them will be pretty tough to beat (well, except for a selected few), but the Yankees will have to face them nonetheless to get one step closer to the playoffs.

April 6, 2012 – April 8, 2012:

New York Yankees 2011 Record: 97-65
Tampa Bay Rays 2011 Record: 91-71
Stadium: Tropicana Field

Preview: If we have learned anything in the 2011 season about the Tampa Bay Rays, it’s that they don’t give up so easily. Sure, like the Yankees they were a first round knockout from the play-offs but the Rays had overcome the odds while digging the Boston Red Sox into a hole. In the 2012 season, the Rays have made slight changes to their lineup. There is no Johnny Damon and Carlos Pena has decided to re-join them. The Rays pitching rotation is a bit threatening as well with David Price, James Shields, Wade Davis, Jeff Niemann & ROY winner Jeremy Hellickson but the Yankees bats have been able to rock around this rotation a few times before. I would expect close games between these two teams and since the Yankees have Michael Pineda & Hiroki Kuroda, I would expect the Yankees to win the series in 2 games.

April 9, 2012 – April 11, 2012:

New York Yankees 2011 Record: 97-65
Baltimore Orioles 2011 Record: 69-93
Stadium: Camden Yards

Preview: So the 2011 record says it all that the Baltimore Orioles aren’t exactly going to be a playoff contending team anytime soon, but they do hit the Yankees when they have to. The Yankees could defeat the Orioles in all 3 games since the Yankees have more bat power and the starting pitching has improved dramatically, but the Baltimore Orioles might not make it so easy. The Orioles after all signed FA Wilson Betemit and they do have the young catcher Matt Weiters (who makes everything impossible for the Yankees). At the end of the day, pitching is what counts. The Orioles pitching is notoriously know for giving up a lot of runs to the Yankees. This is one of the series that I am looking foreward to. It should be interesting…as long as the Orioles don’t intentionally hit anyone.

April 12, 2012: OFF DAY

April 13, 2012 – April 15, 2012:

New York Yankees 2011 Record: 97-65
Los Angeles Angels 2011 Record: 86-76
Stadium: Yankee Stadium

Preview: In this series, the Angels have the upper hand after making a huge splash during the Winter Meetings in December, inking Albert Pujols & C.J Wilson. The Angels offense had gotten more potent with Albert Pujols and the Angels have seriously become contenders. Taking what the Yankees have and what the Angels have, I would say that the Angels will win this series in 2 games for 2 obvious reasons. One is the Yankees RARELY play well vs. the Angels & two is the new additions to the team. I believe most people would go to the home opener series to see Albert Pujols & C.J Wilson in an Angels uniform.

April 16, 2012 – April 19, 2012:

New York Yankees 2011 Record: 97-65
Minnesota Twins 2011 Record: 63-99
Stadium: Yankee Stadium

Preview: The 2011 Twins were plagued with injuries, which is what caused their spiraling downfall. During the offseason the Twins lost Michael Cuddyer to the Colorado Rockies and Jim Thome has gone to the Phillies. Since this series is a 4 game series, I see the Yankees and the Twins splitting it 2 games a piece. (Oh, come on. The Yankees can’t win every series.) In the long run the Twins would have to stay healthy if they hope to make it to the ALDS. But for now, this ca be the 2010 ALDS rematch and the outcome can be the same.

April 20, 2012 – April 22, 2012:

New York Yankees 2011 Record: 97-65
Boston Red Sox 2011 Record: 90-72
Stadium: Fenway Park

Preview: We all remember what happened to the Red Sox last September where they had that horrific collapse, made Terry Francona the scapegoat and hired a former Mets manager to attempt to take them to the World Series. Well, things for the Red Sox had gone bad to worse. Jonathan Papelbon is a Philadelphia Phillie, Marco Scutaro packed his bags (via trade) and headed to Colorado and the Red Sox are rumored to make their set-up man Daniel Bard into a starter? During the offseason, (and I’m not sure this is possible) the Red Sox were more quiet than the Yankees. In this series, I can see the Yankees taking 2 out of 3 here but I wouldn’t expect any flashy leather in left field due to the Green Monster (which really limits Yankees OF Brett Gardner‘s fielding abilities). The Red Sox might make it to the playoffs this year…if they don’t have a horrific collapse to start the season and to end it. (Oh wait, that happened already; 2011.)

April 23, 2012 – April 25, 2012:

New York Yankees 2011 Record: 97-65
Texas Rangers 2011 Record: 96-66
Stadium: The Ballpark In Arlington

Preview: The Texas Rangers lost starter C.J Wilson to the L.A Angels, but they did get something in return; Yu Darvish. This is one of the series that I look forward to since it would be interesting to see Darvish pitch in a MLB environment. The only issue with Darvish is that the Yankees hitters have never faced him and it could be tough to pick up his pitches when he’s pitchig well. If Darvish is pitching in the series, I would say the Yankees would take 2 out of 3, but it won’t be easy with Josh Hamilton, Michael Young and Nelson Cruz in the way. The Rangers have the players and staff to go to the World Series…they just need to win a World Series.

April 26, 2012: OFF DAY

April 27, 2012 – April 29, 2012:

New York Yankees 2011 Record: 97-65
Detroit Tigers 2011 Record: 95-67
Stadium: Yankee Stadium

Preview: To round off April, the Yankees are faced in a 2011 ALDS re-match with the Detroit Tigers. There are just a few changes to the Tigers. Since Victor Martinez is out or the whole year after injuring his knee, the Tigers decided to act fast and get a hitter that could help them go above and beyond. The hitter is Prince Fielder. The Yankees have seen Fielder before when he was with the Brewers last year during interleague, but Fielder could find a way to mash the Yankees since he will be in the American League for the next 9 years. To end April, I would say that the Tigers will take 2 out of 3 with Prince Fielder, Miguel Cabrera and CY Young & AL MVP winner Justin Verlander leading the pack. The Tigers are only going to get more dangerous. When Victor Martinez comes back, he’ll bat in between Cabrera & Fielder. Now that’s a deadly combination.

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