Sunday, April 15, 2007

A's Take 2 of 3

3 quality games against the Oakland A's, all decided by 1 run, left the Bombers with 2 loses and an overall record of 5-6.

Series Summary: With the exception of the rare blown save by Mo, the Bull Pen is shaping up to be the most reliable in all of baseball - Bruney is the man. So far, Jeter is clearly not on his game. 3 errors, and getting caught stealing by Jason Kendall of all people is making me wonder if he came into this season out of shape - perhaps further evidence of a shotty strength and conditioning program. Cabrera and Mientkiewicz continue to suck at the plate batting a combined 4 for 24. Bobby Abreu's defense and offense appear to be in the slide. Overall, the starting pitching continues to improve. Igawa and Rassner did OK rebounding from tough innings and Pettitte continues to be strong giving 7 innings and 1 earned. Giambi appears to have turned the corner and is driving the ball again and not undercutting it as much. And last but certainly not least - A-Rod continues to be the man at the plate. His numbers are up to .372 avg., 7 HRs and 18 RBIs through 11 games, slugging % .977 - is a Triple Crown possible???

Overall Grade: D (despite losing the series and everything else mentioned, points for improvement in the starting pitching, A-Rod's continued production, and strength of relief).

Next Up: 3 games at home against the Tribe with Pavano taking the mound for the 1st game. Key areas for success include: production from bottom of the batting order, Giambi and Abreu's OBP improvement, Pavano and other starters to complete 6 innings or more of work. Get Mo Rivera more work and his 1st save of the season.


old professor said...

Kind of harsh with a grade of D for the series. Bullpen pitches two hit ball for seven innings on Saturday. Sunday three of the runs are driven in with sac. flies. Yankees split a tough roadtrip against two potential fall competitors. Grade of D, no call it a C+.

Defense shows lack of concentration. Abreu and Damon allow a double to become a triple when they can't decide who should pick the ball up. To make matters worse, it appeared no one said anything to Cano about the runner going to third.

Regarding Jeter (I know this is going to bring the wrath of Jeter fans but---) he had limited range coming into the season. Strong arm in the past made up for the range issue. The range is becoming more evident and the arm seems to be coming up short on throws, bobbles are becoming more common. No one can have their skills erode that quickly, something else is going on.

Of greater concern is the state of the starting pitching staff. Mussina and Pavano (no surprise here) join Wang and Karstens on the DL. It will be interesting to see how Chase Wright does in his start. Big jump from Double A to the show. He did have a big spring. Surprised they didn't go with Clippard (could be Clippard just pitched and wouldn't have been able to help).

Billy Wagner said...

You said A-Rod was the man at the plate. Was it the same 'man' who left 4 on in Saturday's contest and struck out in the 8th in a pivotal at bat?

Looks like I'm the new sandman in town!

Mid Relief said...

Wang threw hitless ball in his rehab start - let's see what Hughes can do already.

The Scooter said...

OK, as Mid likes to do, lets point out the Good; the Bad; and the Ugly:

The Good:
The Bullpen has been above average. Proctor looks strong, Henn has been a Godsend and Mariano is Mariano, even though he gave up the shocker to Scutaro. I'm not too concerned about that; I'm sure Mo has already forgotten about it.

Bruney is a quality power arm and he showed me a lot Saturday Night after getting a tough loss on Friday.

I don't know if the salaries match up, but how about the Yankees call the Astros and offer Farnsworth straight up for Brad Lidge? Two pretty good relief pitchers with power arms that both obviously need a fresh start with a new club. The Yankees might have to throw in a low level prospect, but "make the call", Cashman.

More Good:

Pettitte. He's going to need to be a horse for a couple weeks and yesterday showed that he appears to be up for the task. Rassner also stepped up in his last start and they will need him to continue to keep them in games.

Melky showing signs of finding his stroke and Giambi's history has shown that sometimes he needs just one big hit to start really raking. Well we all know that he got that big hit, so let's see where it leads.

The Bad:
The defense. Bad defense is contagious, and this is becoming a trend with this Yankee team. It has now become worrisome. Old Prof states that Jeter came into the season with limited range. While his range to his left has always been a bit suspect, he is still one of the premier shortsops in the league while ranging far into the hole. That being said, I agree that for some reason he just hasn't looked prepared to start the season. His history of great work ethics and desire to be the best he can be makes me give him the benefit of the doubt, though. I think it's simple lack of concentration and I expect him to improve, immediately.

Cano is still experiencing some concentration lapses of his own, but let's remember that he is still a very young ballplayer and with Bowa on his ass, he will be fine. A-Rod has been solid at third and Minky really is a great glove man at first.

The outfield defense is mind boggling to me. While I know Abreau will never be confused with Ichiro, he has proven to be an above average defender in his career. He needs to get back to that level and quick.

Damon is Damon. If his legs are healthy, his speeed will allow him to get to most catchable balls in center but we know his arm will never be better than simply horrid.

Melky has been the best defensive outfielder by far and I predivt he will continue to see regular time in all three outfield spots even after Matsui gets back.

The Ugly:

Simply stated, the lack of physical and mental preparation has been indefenseable.

I am really starting to believe that Cashman made a huge mistake in allowing the conditioning program to be completely overhauled by a bunch of "non-baseball" people. All these muscle injuries are pathetic.

Torre has to take a hit as far as the mental stuff. I have always been a big supporter of his, but It's time for him to realize that he doesn't have the self motivators like O'neill, Tino and Brocious around anymore, and he may have to take a more hands on approach with this crew. I sure hope Joe is not phoning in what could be his last year in the Bronx.

As you can see, I didn't talk much about the offense. I think we all know that this team will hit enough to win as long as the other aspects of the game are solid...which they have not been. If this team is still around .500 in May, believe me you are going to start to hear some Joe Girardi rumors.

Bronx Bomber said...

Close the book on Torre. He's gone by June 1.

The Scooter said...

Wonderful analysis, Bronx Bomber. Thanks for the input.

old professor said...

Interesting match-up in the Bronx tonight (provided the stadium is not a swimming pool from the coastal storm) Chase Wright will be making his major league debut. Has been effective in AA and was very good in Spring Training.

Surprised they didn't pull someone up from AAA.

As to Billy Wagner's statement regarding A-Rod, Sometimes good pitching will stop good hitting. And there is only one sandman in town and he resides in the Bronx. Who let all of the Mets fans onto this website.

Anonymous said...

I doubt Mo resides in the Bronx

The Scooter said...

Maybe he doesn't "anon", but he probably keeps all his jewelry (Championship Rings)there.

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