Thursday, April 21, 2011

Questions Remain

So we're a little more than 2 weeks into the season and the Yankees are sitting atop the AL East with a 10-6 (.625) record. Tampa is 2 games back, Baltimore after starting hot lost 8 straight and the mighty World Series favorite Red Sox have a .353 winning %, but have shown signs of turning it around.

Despite the 1st place standing the Yankees have too many question marks...Gardner is in his ritual early slump (batting .128) not getting on base and not stealing bases either. I think these are the reasons he's on the team. Posada is the designated hitter and he's not hitting and looking every bit old and slow batting .160. Jeter is batting a mighty .219 and has already hit into a ton of double plays. Granderson, Swisher and Tex have shown signs of breaking out of the early funk. Yes the Yankees have a ton of HRs and that really has saved them. But they will need to win games with base hits in critical situations, not just waiting for the long ball and they don't have that right now.

The pitching has to be a concern, while CC hasn't been bad he doesn't have a win. AJ hasn't been great but is 3-0, Hughes looks terrible, Nova will probably be sent down if he can't show he can pitch like he did in spring training. Colon and Garcia while they were impressive in 1 outing they need to be able to do that consistently.

The bullpen was going to be the game changer for the kind of is just not in the good way. Mo blows a save, Soriano has an ERA in the 6's, Logan can't get out a lefty. Joba seems to be doing well in the 7th and Robertson has been decent too.

Millwood and Silva look decent on the farm, and Montero is hitting over .400. Prior, Banuelos, and Betances are on the DL.

I'll take first place in the East at this point but I think a lot of things have fallen in the right place for the Yankees and they have a lot of question marks to address.


Crash said...

Derek Jeter's SLG% .234, that's good for 189th...out of 196 players! He's also hitting more groundballs than anyone in the a long shot.

I think the Yankees tolerate him until he get's 3,000, then he gets benched for Nunez. That's conditional, as long as the team keeps winning despite him.

old professor said...

It appears that after two years of debate, you are finally ready to admit that Jeter is over the hill. He led the league in groundballs last year and hit into a league leading 22 double plays. He is picking up where he left off and it is obvious that hitting what he is and doing what he is doing is not good for a lead-off hitter. Pena could have given them as much as this guy has. Nunez is rotting on the bench getting a few innings here or there when he should be playing the majority of the games at short.

Colon looked strong. Who would have thought that as the month of April comes to an end, Colon has more wins than CC. Mo unavailable for last nights game - injury???

old professor said...

Mo blows his second straight save opportunity. Maybe just maybe it could be from overuse early. For the first time in his career he has seven saves in April. While this relates to Yankee wins, it also shows a heavy reliance on the bullpen.

In the eleven inning win on Sunday, every pitcher except one was used (not counting Soriano who was resting a stiff lower back).

Hopefully they can get some distance from the Burnett tonight and the pen can get sometime to rest.

Joba seems to have gotten back into his inconsistent self again as he gives up a two run bomb to Mark Reynolds. Garcia throws an excellent game just to watch the bullpen give it up.

Crash said...

Old Prof you need to look at the facts. Joba is not inconsistent. He is doing exactly what he has done for the last 2 seasons. When he's used out of the pen on consecutive days, he stinks. He has only given up 6 ER this season so far. Look at the game log the runs come on the second day of back-to-back outings. Except yesterday, yesterday was the first time in 5 days he got out there. He was rusty and made 1 mistake pitch. You want to make the excuse that Mo is about Joba, he's been in 11 games so far. He's on pace for 100 appearances. That's crazy. Girardi should now not to use Joba on consecutive days by now.

Yankees need to make a decision on Millwood this week. Call him up or he can leave. I would think he gets the call up and Nova gets sent down. He is not the same pitcher from spring training.

Hughes should be on rehab assignment this week with at least 2 minor league starts planned. Would be interesting to see who gets bumped from the rotation. Both Colon and Garcia have been great.

Crash said... has a cool (or sad depending on point of view) link about the destruction of old Yankee Stadium. National Geographic channel will be airing a special on the destruction of Yankee Stadium this Thursday 10pm (so set the VCR Old Prof).

Here's a link to the video on RAB:

old professor said...

Crash, when an individual is put in the pen and averages one inning per appearance, the expectation is he can be consistent on back to back days. (That was the rationale for leaving Prior in the minor leagues because they wanted him to pitch back to back days). As for making excuses for Mo while expecting more from Joba - Mo is 40 years old and is still pitching at a high degree of success (seven saves in the month of April). Joba is 25 and should be able to go out two days in a row without adverse affects.

Last nights game was a travesty. Team could not hit a pitcher with an ERA above 4.40. Small pop up on the infield drops for a hit completely unacceptable and Girardi immediately comes to Jeter's defense - "it is a ball that Soriano could have gotten to". First rule pitchers are taught - get out of the way and let the fielders take care of it. Jeter was slow in reacting (no surprise there) and A-Rod never moved (no surprise there either).

Hughes headed for an MRI due to continued dead arm syndrome - does not sound good - look for a blockage in his circulatory system.

Montero taken from his game last night after being hit by a batted ball - needed assistance to even leave the field does not sound good for him.

Crash said...

You can't manage around expectation and blanket statements which is exactly what you're attempting to do. By saying Joba should be able to do this and that. Fact is Joba wasn't a reliever until he hit the big leagues. He has never been able to pitch effectively on consecutive days so you should manage to that.

Ask Feliciano how he feels about pitching everyday. Feliciano led MLB in appearances with 92, Joba is on pace to go way past that. Obviously the Yankees learned a lot from the "abuse" of Feliciano.

No reason at all this team should be shut out. But it is exactly what happens when a team relies so heavily on the long ball.

Crash said...

Couple new books about the Yankees out or coming out shortly. The first one I saw was "Donnie Baseball". That's currently out now. Then there's "The Captain" by Ian Oconnor, think he writes for the Post or Daily News. And now "The Bullpen Diaries" which chronicles Mo's times in the pen. All should be interesting reads.

old professor said...

Crash, when Mo came up, he was also a starter and was converted to the pen. On a regular basis in 1996 he was called on to pitch the 7th and 8th innings to bridge to John Wetland. Odd that he was able to make the move without any major hiccups. Why the attempt to find excuses for Joba? The fact of the matter is when he was put in the rotation, he could not put up the numbers and everyone was yelling about his being jerked around with the is he a starter or a reliever and then came the innings limitations (Joba Rules). Well the last two years there has not been any such controversy - he is a reliever and if he can't be used effectively for more than one day in a row, maybe it is time for the Yankees to find someone who can.

The bigger issue regarding over use will play out due to the rotation - if your starters cannot go more than six innings on any given day, the bullpen will be shot by the middle of July.

CC has pitched into the 7th and last night AJ showed what he can do when he has a low pitch count.

The team is worried about the durabilty of Colon and Garcia so they will be pulled early- result more stress on the pen. And Nova is back to his not being able to go through the lineup more than once - result overworked bullpen.

I would not be surprised to see Nova sent down if he has another bad start (which I believe is set for Wednesday).

old professor said...

Another good pitching performance wasted because of Soriano. Commentators would appear to be satisfied with "well on a positive note he threw 97mph." Great the ball was straight and was sent out of the park - major league hitters can hit 97 mph fastballs if they are straight (okay Jeter may be the exception).

What's with Gardner - he either is taking the first two pitches (for strikes) or faking a bunt and taking the pitch for a strike. He needs to stop screwing around and get more aggressive at the plate.

Crash said...

Soriano gave up a total of 12 ER last season...he's already given up 9 this year. It was a bad signing and Cashman is probably secretly smiling on the inside, even though the team has lost some games because of him.

Old Prof I agree Gardner is not playing well and needs to be more aggressive. It's one thing to be patient at the plate and work the count it's another to always be in a hole 0-2.

And just when i thought the White Sox were coming in at the right time they are the verge of taking the series with a win tonight. I think Colon is going to be pretty pumped up to face his old team. Probably won't matter as the Yankee bats have suddenly gone quiet.

old professor said...

Colon turns the clock back to 2005. He threw an absolute gem of a game. Not only did he get through eight innings thus not have to trust the bullpen with bridging to Mo, but he consistently threw in the mid 90s and on occassion hitting 96 and 97. Let's hope he can stay healthy. Being out of baseball for two years may have actually been a blessing for this guy and allowed him the opportunity to get healthy.

It also appears that Phil Hughes has circulation issues. Don't be surprised to see the Yankees move him to the sixty day dl and bring up Millwood.

Tex leaves game due to shoulder soreness - let's hope it is not a prolonged absence.

Posada continues to look lost at the plate - maybe just maybe the guy cannot adjust to be a dh. If he can't then his career with the Yankees and probably anyone else is over at the end of this year. Look to having Chavez get more at bats at Jorge's expense. Too bad because the guy has been a good team man and has provided great moments in his career. Unfortunately time does not stand still for professional athletes.

Crash said...

So did anyone have Colon in there Cy Young Pool???

All Yankee runs came on a lone HR in the 1st inning and pretty much no offense after that. A prolonged power outage will hurt this team.

Posada is lost, but so is Nick Swisher and Gardner. With 1/3 of your lineup not hitting is amazing the Yankees have continued to win games.

old professor said...

Lost in some of all of the analysist is the fact the rotation has put together some strong showings: CC went eight strong in Baltimore, Garcia has an excellent outting, Burnett had a strong eight innings, Nova pitched into the seventh for the first time in his career (bullpen blew the game), and Colon went eight strong innings.

Usually a rotation will get on a roll for a couple of turns before flatting out. If the rotation can keep going it will be good news for the pen. In the near future the team will have to make some decisions regarding Gardner and Posada if both continue to struggle. Not only do they create a weakness at their spot in the batting order, but they do not offer any protection for the person hitting in front of them (which could actually explain way Swisher is struggling - if no one has to worry about the ondeck batter, they can pitch aggressively to Swishwer).

Crash said...

Yeah I agree Old Prof. Flaherty actually made the suggestion of batting Swisher 2nd for a couple of days so he can get some fastballs, hitting in front of Tex, A-Rod and Cano, and get his confidence back. Swisher did bat in the 2 hole a lot last year.

Crash said...

I have to say I like tonight's lineup:


Obviously Tex is still hurting with the shoulder issue or else I would like to see Chavez be the DH instead of Posada. If Gardner was hitting I would bat him leadoff. But given circumstances that's probably the best Girardi can run out there.

old professor said...

Bats come alive last night for at least one inning. Everybody hits EXCEPT - Posada who pulls down another 0-4. I believe it is time the Yankees realize the experiment with him as DH has been a complete failure. If they believe he can still be productive as a hitter, they may want to put him behind the plate once every four or five days let him catch and put Chavez at DH or let Posada play first when Tex needs a rest and put Chavez at DH. It is obvious that Posada cannot keep his concentration into the game when he is a DH and he offers no protection in the lineup. At some point the team will have to realize is O'fers are going to add up and hurt this team.

Swisher seemed more relaxed and comfortable at the #2 slot and actually hit a homerun.

Crash said...

Nunez gets a start and promptly makes an error. Puts CC in a jam. Then his second error led to runs in the 8th. He's supposed to be better defensively and the next in line at SS. Not if he keeps doing that.

old professor said...

Regarding Nunez, the kid has not played in a month, doesn't know he is going to play until he gets to the stadium and proceeds to make two errors. Give him a break. He has more range, more speed and has more upside offensively than the current shortstop. However due to the iconic nature of the current shortstop no one wants to address the fact with him that he needs to be reduced in playing time and have the younger more agile player put in the lineup.

Play Nunez for a week straight and see what he can do.

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