Monday, May 02, 2011

May Begins Where April Left Off

At 7 Games over .500, 1st place in the AL East, and 2nd best record in the AL, that I'd be feeling pretty good about 2011. . . . but, for some reason I'm not!

On paper, the number look pretty good: Mo with 10 saves, AJ with 4 wins, Teixeira off to good start, Martin and Granderson doing well, Cano and A-Rod doing well - yet, something seems off.

Not sure if the Yanks are good yet, or if the rest of the league is still stuck in Spring training mode.


old professor said...

Mid there are a few things that are off. the Yankees have played only seven games on the road this year which is a major league low. Teams tend to try to play 500 on the road. The Yankees have yet to experience a long road trip so hold on the excitement of being in first place until they come off a long road trip. This current trip will take them to Detroit and to Texas lets wait and see what happens.

The hitting while winning games is not where it should be. jeter is hitting .245, Gardner .200 and Swisher is around .200. One third of your lineup hitting in the low 200s is not a good sign.

Yesterday they had the chance to blow the game open. Base were loaded with one out. Jeter struck out and Tex grounded into a double play - no runs scored.

They are living by the homerun and that is not a good sign.

On a positive - Rotation is on a streak of going deeper into games thus the reliance on the pen is less. Mo leads the league in saves and Soriano actually had two games back to back without giving up a run.

Crash said...

Mid the problem for me is not getting hits in key spots with runners in scoring position. They are too reliant on the HR. When you face good pitching you're not going to hit HR's. They need to play "small ball".

Bullpen is overused already. Everyone is on pace for 70 appearances. that's too many. Nova gets a standing ovation for going into the 7th inning yesterday. He needs to finish that inning. Instead Girardi had to use 2 relievers to get through the 7th.

I agree with Old Prof about playing at home too. If they can split or take this 4 game series in Detroit, where the actually have a sub .500 record, then that will really build some confidence.

Colon is pitching like an ace. He could fill that #2 spot behind CC. AJ has pitched well, but he pitched well last April too. I want to see if he can consistently carry that forward into May and June.

Yankees are in first in the AL East, 2nd in the AL overall behind a very Indians team. Boston is in last place in the AL East (5 back). Boston would need play at least .650 ball to win the East this year. That's not going to happen.

I'll start to worry more when the Yankees start to slip out of 1st place.

Mid said...

I've got a few - I don't like it that Brett Gardner's on base % is so low. Can't use the speed as a weapon if you're only on base 20% of the time.

I think we could use him and a minor leaguer as trade bait - maybe him and Montero to get Austin Jax back.

Big deal about Millwood or non-event?

old professor said...

Mid, it is obvious you have not been watching games lately or checking statistical data. Gardner has picked up his pace getting on base. He is still hitting just over 200 but his on base percentage is just under 40%. Austin Jackson is hitting below 200 and is under 30% for on base percentage.

Good news on the Hughes front - no circlatory problems. Now they have to figure out what is wrong with him and fix it.

Anyone notice the standings in the American League Central? The twins are 10 games back and Chicago is almost as far back. I don't believe either team has the personnel to get back in the race even if it is Cleveland that is leading the division. The White Sox may have finally tired of the Ozzie act and the Twins lost too many arms in the pen to be considered effective. In addition Pavano is their ace!!

old professor said...

Switching gears for a moment- anyone impressed with the Giants draft? Their number one pick was a corner out of Nebraska. There has been some question whether or not he is the cover corner that some thought he could be (coming out of his junior year). His senior year for Nebraska showed a drop in most defensive categories.

In addition, all three of the individuals that played center for the Giants ended the season with injuries. Two of the three are getting up in age so how many centers do the giants look at? None. And the only wide receiver they take is 5'9" and 195 pounds who averaged 8 yards per catch last year. Was the draft that thin they couldn't do better??

Crash said...

I thought the Giants really dropped the ball on the draft on nearly every pick.

Colon had another good outing last night. he threw 97 pitches...91 were fastballs! That's pretty amazing. He should have thrown 93 fastballs because he got beat twice on change-ups. The 2 HR Aviles hit were each on change-ups.

Joba looked good. Soriano didn't want to pitch, so he will get the chance for the save tonight if it calls for it because Mo has gone 3 days in a row. Joba should also get a rest as I believe he's pitched on consecutive days. Robertson, Logan, Carlyle got a much needed day off too.

After watching Swisher's interview last night after the game...I'm really tired of him. Get him out of here.

Middle Relief said...

Crash - you're wrong about Gardner. He's a triple A player and he gots to go.

Giants draft uneventful. Jags picked up D3 WR Cecil Shorts from same school as Piere Garcon - and Shorts was better than Garcon so could turn out to be steel of draft.

old professor said...

Jeter proved his worth again - two men on and two out and he grounds out. The guy is a rally killing machine.

Gardner is starting to come around; in addition, he plays a solid defense that they won't get from someone else. The other unfortunate fact is that the team does not have any outfielder in the minor leagues that will provide more offense and not be a defensive liability.

Crash said...

Actually Mid I haven't mentioned Gardner at all in this post...I demand an apology!!! Now that being said, I like Gardner, he'll be fine. By the end of the season he'll be at .280 with 50 SB's. Granted I would like to .300 and 70SB though.

Montero missed 4 games but has been back in the lineup since 4/28 in S/WB. He's hitting for avg (.373) but with no power. His early trend is that he's a slow starter. Last year he was batting below .200 with little power, then in June he took off finishing the season I believe hitting about .290 with 20+ HRs.

Last night's game was terrible. CC pitched poorly, they were making little league mistakes on the base paths, and still had trouble scoring without the long ball.

I'll tolerate Jeter until he get's #3,000 but then he's benched. Girardi changed his tune real quick. In early April he said Jeter will come around let's give him 100-150 AB's and see where he's at...well he now has 104 AB's and is batting .250 with 0 HR's 6 RBI, 0 SB, and has 3 GDP. I'm actually most shocked by the last number I swear I see him hit into DPs at least once a night.

old professor said...

Crash, while the goal of three thousand hits is a good personal goal and Jeter is close, it should not be something that is reached at the expense of team wins. Yes he will be the first Yankee to reach 3,000 hits, yes he will be in the team record books for most hits and probably most at bats. But in the end if the team loses games because of him being there, then the records are meaningless.

Baseball is a business and Jeter needs to understand that people are not in the seats to see him they are there to watch the TEAM.

Last year he led the league in hitting into double plays and that was as a lead-off hitter. When Lou Gehrig realized he was no longer able to help the team, he went and told the manager to put someone else in and then he exited the game. Jeter needs to get to the realization that he is no longer the player he was. Eleven of the hits he has this year are singles and a number of those are infield hits.

As for CC, going into last nights game his ERA over the previous three games was over 8.00. He is a notorious slow starter and will get better when the weather warms up. Hopefully he gets a start in Texas.

The order in the AL East is starting to look more like it should. Yankees Tampa and Boston occupying the top three spots.

old professor said...

Okay, now I have heard everything that expands the concept of reaching for straws. The Yankees have re-signed Brad Halsey (he of the 2004 ball club) to a minor league contract. He last pitched in 2009 for the Long Island Ducks. He is only 30 and left handed but come on.

old professor said...

The headline on the page stated: Garcia outdueled. Exactly what game were they watching. Garcia struggled through the entire game did not have command of his fastball and paid the price. This is the second straight iffy start for him.

The Yankee offense has been weak at best over the last two games. Swisher is not hitting, Posada is not hitting, A-Rod has gone into a funk and Cano is battling some hand pain due to a bruise and Jeter hits a lot of ground balls. More than half the team is not hitting and they are making stupid base running mistakes (witness Tuesday's game - Cano getting gunned down and Posada leaving to early and getting picked. It appears the team has lost its mental focus.

Crash said...

While I agree "Out Dueled" may be the wrong headline, but for you to call that an iffy start, I'm not sure what game you were watching. Garcia made 1 mistake pitch to Ordonez. He battled and kept the team in the game for 7 innings. After giving up the HR he shut them done. With this lineup, you take 4 runs and 7 innings from your #5 guy.

A-Rod hasn't been the same since his injury. Jeter has been battling a hip injury that no one knew about. Cano's injury could linger a while. Jeter needs to realize by not acknowledging his injury that may or may not be impacting his performance at the plate and in the field, he is hurting the team. I'm really tired of hearing how Jeter is all about winning and team first. If he was such team first guy, he would sit his ass down because he sucks and it's what's best for the team. Same with Posada. And if Girardi won't do it then he doesn't have the stones to be the manager.

old professor said...

I have to agree with your point regarding Posada and Jeter and if the manager can't step in then he should manage. There was an article in the NY Post regarding the difficult job Girardi has as he tries to balance all of the egos on the team.

Also an interesting editorial in the Post Star Sports section regarding Jeter taking a que from Joe Dimaggio and realize he is a shadow of himself and step away from the game. I bet the Yankee braintrust is having second thoughts about four years and 51 million.

Crash said...

In his last 2 games started at SS, Nunez now has 4 errors. Burnett goes 7 innings 5R, but only 2 ER.

Nunez was the reason the Yankees didn't get the Cliff Lee trade done last year. Cashman refused to include him. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!

old professor said...

Nunez needs to slow the game down. He is rushing. More critical than losing the game is the loss of Eric Chavez for what will be several weeks with a broken bone in his foot. The Yankees will have to bring someone up. Could be Jose Vasquez who battled Chavez for a spot in the Spring. Look for the Yankees to move Hughes to the 60 day DL and put Vasquez on the active roster.

Crash said...

Vazquez isn't getting the call up. Pena is being recalled. He was actually scratched from last nights AAA game to avoid injury. So he will be in Texas today.

I didn't see the play, but how can you break your foot running the bases. He couldn't just stop at 2nd with a double, he had to go for the triple.

The Jeter critics are getting louder.

Hughes won't even begin a throwing program for another 2 weeks.

Jack Curry commented that Nunez has 5 errors in 22 innings at SS...unacceptable at high school level, let alone MLB. Wonder if the Yankees would try to trade for Jose Reyes? I think Reyes and Rollins are free agents this year. Be interesting to see if the Yankees go after one of them. Rollins may be too smart to "follow" Jeter at SS. Reyes may be dumb enough or cocky enough to do it. You never want to be the guy that replaces the icon. You want to be the guy who replaces the guy that replaced the icon.

old professor said...

Regarding the questions about Reyes and Rollins - Reyes is not a team player and Rollins will be too expensive for the Yankees to afford. There are only so many $20 million plus players they can have on the roster.

The past seven days have proven the Yankees are not a great road team. 9 errors in four games is not something to be proud of. The team seemed to lack focus in Texas.

The only two positives coming out of the series in Texas: Nova was outstanding in his start and dare I say it Jeter actually hit the ball hard. Finishing 3-4 on a road trip is not that great considering that Detroit was coming of a considerable losing streak.

Crash said...

Yeah and taking 2 out of 3 from the Rangers isn't all that impressive when you consider Hamilton and Cruz were out of the lineup. They also held Kinsler in check (think he was 0-22 against the Yankees this season). The only players they to work around were Young and Beltre.

Nova looked great though I totally agree old prof. On the other hand Colon didn't look sharp.

old professor said...

I hope that Colon's issues were only for the Rangers game. He left a lot of pitches up and over the middle. When he missed, he really missed. Let's hope the magic carpet ride is not over. Garcia has also struggled over his last two starts.

CC while giving up only four or five hits yesterday did not look sharp. His ERA over the last three or four games is over 8!!!!!

I don't know whether to celebrate that Jeter hit two homeruns or just say it has to be the stadium - let's be realistic, Cervelli hit a grand slam for God Sake - his second career major league homerun.

Getting back to the rotation, we know CC struggles in the early part of the season though he is still 3-2 (actually should be six and two since the pen blew three of his early games), but we may finally be seeing the real Colon and Garcia. I would not be surprised to see the yankees begin to use Silva in minor league games to get him ready.

In addition since the Yankees were willing to take a flyer on Millwood and Siva, I believe Jeremy Bonderman is still out there and available. At one point the Indians were talking with him, but never signed him.

Crash said...

Wow didn't see this one coming...Kevin Russo has been DFA'd by the Yankees. Hope he gets picked up by someone. Thought he would be a good player one day.

Girardi also called a "players only meeting" yesterday after the game. Probably has something to do with their sloppy play in the field.

old professor said...

Too bad about Kevin Russo. He seemed to be the best fit for utility outfielder and infielder. The Yankees are probably hoping no one puts in an offer within the next ten days. I don't understand claiming a pitcher off of waivers from the Indians (who need pitching) and then adding the guy to their forty man roster which left Russo out in the cold.

I guess the handwriting was on the wall when they called Pena up instead of Russo.

Girardi needs to call a meeting - the team played sloppy. They kept the Rangers in the game and failed to blow it open until the 8th. They has several opportunities to score runs earlier and didn't. Also anyone notice that Martin is coming back to earth after his fast start??

old professor said...

Interesting series of articles in the NY Post regarding the age of the Yankees. The main article looks at the overall age of the team and points out that Posada is the oldest DH in the league, Jeter the oldest SS, A-Rod the oldest third baseman and of course Mo the oldest closer. Consider this only one of those players has a contract coming to an end at the completion of this season.

This season is looking to be a repeat of last year's baseball season in that pitchers are doing better and hitters are struggling.

When you look at the league leaders in ERA you see figures that were consistent with the mid to late 1960s.

old professor said...

Garcia pitched well last night into the seventh inning. Interesting though he threw only 77 pitches before having to be pulled. Yankees remain in first place (Boston still under .500).

Hughes will begin playing catch this week and has indicated he hopes to be back by mid-June. (Could be wishful thinking - needs to really go through what could be viewed as a complete Spring Training). If the lose of velocity was due to imflamation in the shoulder that has been aleviated by cortisone, it is someething they should have done last year when he began falling off.

Crash said...

Burnett pitched a great game. Yankees inability to hit with RISP is ridiculous. Royals intentionally walk the freezing cold Swisher to get to Posada in the bottom if the with the winning run on 2nd, and he strikes out on a pitch in the dirt. Posada is absolutely terrible and should be benched. Just not sure who would be the DH.

old professor said...

The Yankees left 15 runners on base last night. They give up four hits and lose the game. I have to agree regarding Posada. The guy has struggled against breaking pitches all season and appears clueless at the plate. The entire offense is struggling.

Look at the offensive numbers for this team and there are ominous storm clouds growing. Posada is under .150, Swisher is at 219, Gardner is around 225 and Martin is falling like a rock though he is still around 250.

They are not hitting in the clutch and it is not something that is going to change in the near future.

As for the DH position - Vasquez is tearing up Triple A and is hitting with power. Give the guy a shot - he can play first and third as well as DH. He will give you more power and consistency than Pena for God sake.

Team is going to have to make a move for the pen very shortly. No long man in the pen can only spell more trouble. Entire pen (except for joba and Soriano) used last night. Mo going at a pace that will have him setting the saves record before August.

Crash said...

Posada was just doing a group interview...he was barrage by so many questions about DH'ing, his routine, adjustments, etc. he just up and walked away. DH'ing and his terrible start are obviously getting to him. Girardi needs to sit him down.

Crash said...

Nova couldn't recover from stupid mistakes last night. That 2nd inning was just a comedy of errors for the Yankees. And after 12 years of dominance the Royals actually take a series in the Bronx. What a load of garbage. And now to make matters worse the Red Sox are coming into town. Saturday's pitching matchup should be very good: CC vs. Becket. Becket has been pitching like it's 2003. CC will need to be on his game to keep it close. Yankee bats need to come alive too. A slow start for some of these guys is on the verge of turning into bad season. We're in mid-May and guys like Posada and Swisher are killing the team. Posada those 2 are the lowest average on the whole team (G. Molina is in there somewhere but he's not with the team right now). Yankees have 2 players hitting .300 or higher (Chavez leads the team in hitting and is on the DL, and Nunez).

I think it's Colon against Bucholz tonight. Yankees seem to hit Bucholz pretty well, hope that wakes them up a little.

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