Monday, July 1, 2013

What's Become Of The Yankee Way?

(Joe's running out of options here.  Courtesy of the AP)

(Originally published at IIATMS/TYA)

The Yankees wake up this morning at the halfway point of the 2013 regular season.  All things considered, it could be said that it's a positive that they sit 42-39 and still very much in the thick of things in both the AL East and Wild Card races.  After all the injuries they suffered and with the way they went about replacing those injured players, there were many who signaled this season as the start of the rebuilding process and predicted a last place finish in the division.  A closer look at the last month of play, however, reveals numbers and outcomes much more predictive of that end result than a playoff berth.  The Yankees left Baltimore losers of 5 straight, owners of some of the most hideous offensive statistics in recent memory, a -16 run differential that's much more telling about how they've played than their W-L record, and with no signs of relief or hope for a turnaround in sight.


Well sort of.  Nobody has to get told to shut the fuck up on this because it went through the properly scrubbed Yankee PR channels, and everybody kinda already knew this from last week, but it's still big news.    Alex Rodriguez will officially start his MiL rehab assignment tomorrow night in a game for Low-A Charleston.  He'll start at third base and play a minimum of 3 innings.

This marks the final significant step in his return from his latest hip surgery, and also will officially start A-Rod's 20-day rehab window.  There's really no telling how much of that time he's going to need, but I can't imagine the Yankees not taking the cautious approach with him.  Despite all the BS with the media and the conspiracy theories, the Yanks have to be smart enough to realize they need A-Rod on the field and in the lineup.  He should get as much of that 20 days as he needs to come back fully healthy and ready to contribute.

It's not much by way of speed, but it's something.  The A-Horse is riding again.

Oh, Vern...

(Courtesy of Texas Leaguers)

Look at that.  Just look.  That's absolutely terrible.  It's brutally damning.  Vernon Wells is done.  D-U-N.  He only hit 1 ball to the warning track last month in 77 plate appearances and didn't even come close to doing it again.  He hit .133/.143/.177 last month, with just 1 walk and 17 strikeouts.  I think I could go up to the plate 77 times, just stand there with the bat on my shoulder, and probably generate a higher OPS than that in a month.  Totally kidding but not really.

Looking at the pitch result breakdowns, it's not easy to see why Wells has fallen off the productivity cliff.  If you throw him an offspeed pitch, he's going to swing and miss it.  You throw him any kind of fastball, he isn't going to get around on it fast enough to generate any kind of solid contact, forget about power.  It's not surprising that he got bested by that pitching machine a little while back.  He just doesn't have anything left.

Can Fernando Martinez Actually Help Right Now?

For as long as he's been an organizational depth piece instead of the former top prospect he was, there was understandably little fanfare when the Yankees traded for Fernando Martinez from Houston a few weeks back.  The real goal of that move was to make sure the team had enough warm bodies out there in the Triple-A outfield after the rash of injuries they suffered.

But since being acquired, Martinez has somewhat surprisingly hit incredibly well for SWB.  In 54 plate appearances, Martinez has a batting line of .378/.463/.667, good for a .484 wOBA.  Considering he was hitting just .219/.291/.371 for the Astros' Triple-A affiliate prior to the trade, that's borderline unbelievable.  Martinez has looked much more like the elite prospect he was expected to be than the complete disaster he'd become as a hitter in the last few weeks, and with all the problems the Yankees are having in their lineup it begs the question of whether or not they should consider calling him up.

Game 81 Wrap-Up: BAL 4 NYY 2

(Courtesy of the AP)

Hiroki Kuroda on the mound used to mean a win was in the cards for the Yanks.  These days, it feels like they'd be the underdog even with Bob Gibson in his prime out there.  It was another lackluster loss last night to complete a sweep at the hands of the Orioles, something that hasn't happened in 8 years.  I live blogged the game and you can catch up on all the finer details here.  Lowlights from the affair are below.

Game Notes:

- Kuroda didn't make many mistakes last night, but the ones he did were enough to sink the Yanks.  He gave up a solo HR in each of the first 3 innings, 2 of them on hanging sliders to Manny Machado and Nate McLouth.  By the time he got his location under control, the Yanks were already behind and never came back.

- As has become the norm for them, the Yankees didn't take advantage of the mistakes Chris Tillman made. He seemed primed to unravel in the top of the 2nd and all they could muster was a single run on a bases loaded walk.  Robinson Cano's solo HR was the only other scoring for the night.

- I mentioned it last night, but it bears repeating again.  The Yanks NEED to ditch the 13-man pitching staff and add a bat to that bench, preferably a left-handed one.  They had potential rallies in the 7th and 9th innings that were snuffed out because the righty lower third of the lineup (Nix, Stewart, Adams) is awful and incapable of generating anything.  The Yankees' own offensive woefulness did more to kill their chances of scoring late last night than Baltimore's pitching did.