Thursday, June 28, 2012

A Rest For Raul

(Dude looks tired to me... Courtesy of Getty Images)

For someone who didn't come in with a lot of fanfare or expectations after being signed, Raul Ibanez has been an incredibly important piece of the Yankee lineup this year.  I know that after watching him flail his way through ST and deliver a classic .gif-worthy defensive botch almost immediately after taking a spot in the outfield, I had already started to countdown to the eventual "Raul Ibanez has been DFA'd" story in my head.  But he started to swing the bat OK and hit for some power early in the season, and with Brett Gardner's continued injury setbacks keeping the lineup flexibility limited, Ibanez has proven to be an incredibly valuable resource to have.  He's provided pop when the lineup needed it and his overall defense has been much better than expected.

June has been a pretty rough month for Raul, though.  After yesterday's game, he's hitting .177/.261/.290 for the month in 69 plate appearances, good for a .244 wOBA and a 45 wRC+.  His season batting line had dipped down below the .240/.300 BA/OBP barrier before he used yesterday's at-bats to get himself back up to exactly .240 and .300, and I can't help but wonder if all this time in the outfield covering for the loss of Gardner is starting to catch up with him.

Attempting To Put A Positive Spin On The CC/Andy Injuries

(Unless he's praying to Mecca, that's not a position you want to see Andy in.  Courtesy of Robert Sabo/NY Daily News)

Injuries suck.  There's no other way to say it.  And the reminders that they're "part of the game" and "every team is dealing with them" don't make them suck any less when they happen to your team.  The Yankees have already dealt with their fair share of injury woes in 2012, and yesterday's double-whammy of injury-related suckiness was even more woeful considering it knocked out the Yankees' 2 best starting pitchers for at least the next 2-3 weeks and certainly much longer than that for 1 of them.  There's no way for this situation to suck any less than it already does, but there are a few silver linings and maybe even a positive or 2 to be taken from this situation if I can spin things right.

Game 74 Wrap-Up: NYY 5 CLE 4 (Andy's Ankle 0)

(A grimacing pitcher is never good.  Courtesy of The AP)

At least they got the win and got the sweep.  That's really the only positive to be taken from yesterday's game and pretty much yesterday in general if you're a Yankee fan.  Well that and the fact that Robinson Cano is going to win AL Player of the Month for June.  They lost CC before the game, lost Andy during the game, and both of them are going to miss enough time to make their injuries more than just day-to-day.  It's a shame too, because outside of the 1 unearned run he gave up, Andy was putting in work against the Indians' lineup yesterday.

Game Notes:

- Andy came out firing, striking out the side in the top of the 1st, all on sliders.  He struck out 7 through the first 4 innings, and were it not for an A-Rod throwing error they could have been scoreless.

- Ubaldo Jimenez held the offense hitless through 3, but they struck in the 4th once the lineup rolled over.  Eric Chavez got the key hit, a 2-out, 2-RBI double to give the Yankees a 2-1 lead.


- Andy's 1-1 pitch to Casey Kotchman in the top of the 5th would prove to be diastrous.  Kotchman lined a shot right off Andy's left ankle, and despite his best efforts he couldn't stay in the game.  After Andy departed, the combination of Cody Eppley and Clay Rapada coughed up the lead before Freddy Garcia (believe it or not) came in to finish the inning.

- The Yankee offense would not be held down, though, and it was the combination of Alex Rodriguez, redeeming himself for the earlier error, and the scorching-hot Cano who combined to regain the lead on a 2-run Cano HR to left in the 6th.  The dude is hitting everything right now, and hitting everything everywhere.

- Chavez drove in a big run in the bottom of the 8th on a groundball base hit to right to extend the lead to 5-3.  There's nothing flashy about his season line, but Chavez has had some big hits.

- After D-Rob struck out 2 in a perfect 8th, Rafael Soriano came on (4th appearance in 5 days) and made things interesting in the bottom of the 9th, walking in a run to make it 5-4.  But he held on and saved the win, ensuring that the day wasn't a total loss.