Friday, April 18, 2014

Friday Afternoon Linkapalooza: 4/18/14

Doing Easter Sunday with the girlfriend's family this weekend.  It'll gives me the chance to meet her aunt who hooked me up with all my presale tickets for the Yanks-Brewers series next month (and pay her for said tickets), but it also poses a possible playoff hockey dilemma.  Rangers-Flyers Game 2 is Sunday at 11 AM Central, so I'm trying to figure out how to balance the necessary social interaction with the fam while still getting my Rangers fix in.  Now that Time Warner has eliminated CNBC from their basic cable package, I wasn't able to watch Game 1.  It's all terrible vexing.  Now onto the links!

- On Monday, Chad Jennings of LoHud pondered the second base situation in light of Brian Roberts' back injury and slow start.

- On Tuesday, el duque of It Is High... looked at the organizational depth at first base to see what the Yankees next move would be if both Teix and Kelly Johnson got hurt.

- Matt Bove of IIATMS/TYA broke down Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury's solid starts and how they're both living up to their new contracts early on.

- On Wednesday, Chris Mitchell of Pinstripe Pundits examined the downside to Kelly Johnson having to sub at first base.

- Joe Vitulli of Yanks Go Yard commented on Ichiro's hot start and how well he seems to be handling his new limited bench role.

- On Thursday, Vizzini of NoMaas provided plenty of valid reasons for why people should not freak out about CC Sabathia's start to the season.

- Mike Axisa of RAB analyzed the the Yankees' new shift strategy and how it's impacted their defensive effectiveness and their opponents' hitting performance against them.

- On Friday, Daniel Burch wondered what the Yankees will do with their infield when Brendan Ryan returns from the DL.  He's tagged Dean Anna as the odd man out.

It came to my attention that there has been a glaring lack of female artists on the Friday Jam mix.  In fact, I haven't had a chick on for the Friday Jam since June of 2012.  Let's rectify that, shall we?  Boom!  Little "Magic Man" right in your grillmix.  2 chicks at the same time.

Enjoy your Easter weekends, everybody.

The Talented Mr. Solarte

(Courtesy of Getty Images)

So Yangervis Solarte is really getting it done, huh?

- .373 batting average (2nd in AL)
- .444 wOBA (3rd in AL)
- 193 wRC+ (4th in AL)
- 19 hits (6th in AL)
- 7 doubles (2nd in AL)

The .429 BABIP is still unsustainably high, but there's reason to believe this is more than just Solarte getting lucky in a small sample size.  He's got a 10.3% BB rate and a 13.8% K rate, so he's displaying an understanding of the strike zone and some good contact skills.  He popped his first career home run last night too, and his .196 ISO is more than good enough to get it done in an everyday or bench role.  Eventually the BIP luck is going to turn and his numbers will go down.  For now though, he's fun to watch and he's giving the Yankees way more than they hoped for.  Strange to say, but he might be the most popular Yankee in town right now.

Bing, Bang, Boom

(Courtesy of Deadspin)

Poetry in motion right there.  Solarte (who's not a natural third baseman) with no hesitation going to the third base bag, Roberts with a quick turn at second, and Sizemore (who was playing his first career game at first base) with a nifty scoop at first.  It would have been ludicrous to suggest it at the time, but looking back on it now, that was probably the game.  Once Tampa came out of that inning with no runs, they didn't have a chance to keep up with the Yankee offense.

P.S.- I'd call this "amazing" but this is kinda CC's thing.  3rd triple play he's had turned behind him since joining the Yankees.  Wild stuff.

Game 16 Wrap-Up: NYY 10 TB 2

(Courtesy of Getty Images)

Everything was groovy for the Yankees heading into Tampa for a 4-game series against the Rays.  They were winners of 4 straight and 8 of 12 since the season-opening 1-2 series in Houston, their pitching staff was clicking on all cylinders, they had Derek Jeter back at shortstop, they got Brian Roberts back at second base, and they were planning to have Mark Teixeira back on Sunday.  Last night's series opener featured each team's big lefty, CC Sabathia for the Yanks and David Price for the Rays.  It was all Sabathia on this night.

Game Notes:

- Price wasn't close to anything resembling his best and the Yanks jumped on him early.  2 singles and a walk netted them a run in the top of the 1st, and a double, 2 triples (Roberts and Ellsbury), and another single got them 3 in the 2nd.

- CC was better than Price, but he needed some help to stay scoreless.  He got it in the 2nd when Yangervis Solarte started a triple play to end the inning.  He helped himself out by K'ing Desmond Jennings to strand 2 in the 3rd.

- Sabathia got another big help with a double play ball in the 4th, but with 2 outs Brian McCann let a ball get by him and the Rays got on the board.

- No matter.  McCann got the run back and then some when he and Alfonso Soriano hit back-to-back HR in the top of the 5th to make it a 6-1 Yankee lead.  Price wasn't beating guys with his fastball and he could not get his changeup down in the zone.

- The Yanks added 1 in the 6th and 1 in the 7th to put the game out of reach.  CC gave up another HR for his only ER of the night and exited after 7.  Dellin Betances was a little shaky behind him in the 8th, but a Solarte 2-run shot in the 9th sealed the deal.