Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Too Many Home Runs!

The Yankees hit too many home runs AGAIN tonight.  That kinda stuff might work now, but sooner or later they are going to have to start manufacturing runs without the long ball and play the hit-and-run game and blah blah blah sacrifice bunt blah blah blah stringing hits together blah blah blah A-Rod needs to pick it up blah blah blah the mainstream media doesn't know shit blah blah blah suck it, haters.

P.S.- Teix and C-Grand in a one-on-one duel in the HR Derby final?  That'd be cool, right?

P.P.S.- Back-to-back 2-4, 1 R, 1 RBI nights for Eduardo Nunez, including one of the too many home runs that were hit.  I know it's the smallest of small sample sizes, but you can't say the kid doesn't look good out there.

An Issue With Swish's Splits

While reading the always excellent Mike Axisa game recap on RAB of last night's ass whooping of Alexi Ogando, I was struck by this particular bit on Nick Swisher: 

"I thought Paul O’Neill did a fine job of breaking down Swisher’s left-handed swing during the broadcast, showing how he was opening up early and getting off balance. He hasn’t had those same problems from the right-side, which is why he went 2-for-3 with a double and a homer off lefties Michael Kirkman and Arthur Rhodes while drawing just a measly walk off righty Alexi Ogando. Swish is now hitting .176/.315/.284 off righties but .356/.439/.576 off lefties. That has to fix itself at some point, right?"

For one, I had no idea that Swish's splits were that awful.  Admittedly, I had never checked them in great detail this season, so I just assumed he was equally awful from both sides of the plate early in the season and had been hitting equally better from both sides during his recent resurgence.  To justify my ignorance to this situation, I will point out that Swish hit .286/.330/.549 from the left side of the plate in 384 at-bats and .291/.414/.429 from the right side in 182 at-bats just last year.  Why should I have expected anything different this season?

But the second thing that struck me about this bit of info was Mike's assumption that this issue with Swish is something that should/will fix itself as the season moves along.  We're talking about an over 400-point difference in OPS from what is typically Swish's stronger side of the plate in 2.5 times more ABs.  This isn't just something that should be expected to work itself with a little BABIP luck here and there. This, to me, represents something fundamentally wrong with Swish's mechanics and approach as a left-handed hitter right now.  If Paul O'Neill can call it out clear as day on the TV broadcast, then surely other people can recognize it too.  And when it comes to recognizing problems with a swing and correcting them, there's one man on the Yankee staff that needs to be involved in fixing them.

"Paging Dr. Long.  Dr. Long, you have a patient suffering from a severe case of lefty-swinging unbalance waiting for you in the lobby.  Dr. Long."

Methinks that Swish and Dr. Long need to get together for a quick checkup on that lefty approach and get things straightened out, especially considering they've already put so much time and work into retooling Swish's approach that got him the career-best results he's already had as a Yankee.  And sooner rather than later.  He's going to face a lot more right-handed pitching this season than he is left-handed.  Getting that swing fixed against those righties will help get Swish's production back to where it should be a lot faster.  They didn't sit back and wait for Swish's approach to fix itself when he first got to New York.  Why wait for it to fix itself now?

Ladies And Gentlemen, Brien Gordon

(Photo courtesy of the Lehigh Valley IronPigs.  Awesome name)

I don't know how or why the Yankees came to this decision, but yesterday afternoon they signed 32-year-old Brien Gordon, a former Phillies Triple-A pitcher, to take Bartolo Colon's spot in the rotation tomorrow.

Now Gordon has been lighting the world on fire this year, posting a 1.14 ERA and a 2.55 FIP for Lehigh Valley, the Phillies' Triple-A affiliate, and he's also struck out 56 batters to just 7 BB in 55.1 IP.  But the guy is 32 years old and in his 15th MiL season, way past the point of being a hot prospect, and he is still pitching in Triple-A.  So spare me the "he's a converted outfielder" talk and just say that if he were that good of an outfielder or a pitcher he probably would have made the show for more than 3 appearances with the Rangers back in '08.

And another thing that concerns me is what kind of effect, if any, this move has on guys like David Phelps and Adam Warren.  They have both been fantastic of late and for their organization to sign another outside guy to make a spot start over them is kind of like saying that the organization didn't trust them to come up and pitch well.  It doesn't pop quite as much as Gordon's 9.11 K/9, 1.14 BB/9 rates, but Phelps' 7.78,2.36 rates are nothing to sneeze at.

Basically, this deal is in the same vein as the Garcia and Colon signings in the offseason, a low-risk, high-reward move for the Yankees.  They're putting minimal money in a guy who has been on fire this season to make a few spot starts.  If he has any kind of success, the deal is a plus.  And if he bombs, then you just cut his ass and go to one of your group of internal youngsters until Colon comes back.