Friday, May 23, 2014

Friday Afternoon Linkapalooza: 5/23/14

It's strange to not be traveling somewhere for Memorial Day weekend for once.  No D-1 lacrosse tournament, no Coke 600 in Charlotte.  Just 3 days with nothing to do in the greater Milwaukee area.  Don't even know how I'm going to handle it (probably by day drinking and watching playoff hockey).  Now onto the links!

- On Monday, Chad Jennings of LoHud dissected the pitching staff through the first quarter of the season to pick out who's exceeding expectations and who is not.

- Mike Axisa of RAB profiled Cali prep pitcher Grant Hockin as a potential Yankee draft target.  I've been reading more of these this year to try to be a tiny bit knowledgeable heading into the draft, and this is the first one where I've really liked the guy Mike profiled.

- On Tuesday, Daniel Burch of The Greedy Pinstripes proposed an intriguing bullpen swap option.

- On Wednesday, SJK of NoMaas pointed out the combined underwhelming performance of the 3 big position player offseason signings.  Fair criticism, but too early to make a big deal out of it.

- On Thursday, Rob Abruzzese of Bronx Baseball Daily put together an updated scouting report on Chase Whitley for those who weren't familiar with him during his MiL days.

- Matt Bove of IIATMS/TYA made a case for Kendrys Morales and why he makes sense for the Yankees to pursue now.

Michael Brown of Pinstripe Alley touched on the Yankees' high team K rate and the help that it's provided in overcoming their weak team defense.

- El duque of It Is High... pointed out all the good that a group of the unsung homegrown players has done so far this year to get the Yankees where they are.

- SG of RLYW brought up the topic of next year's shortstop in response to Jeter's struggles and Stephen Drew re-signing with the Red Sox.

- On Friday, Chris Mitchell of Pinstripe Pundits mused on Peter O'Brien's true prospect status and Major League potential in the context of his below-average defense and lack of defined position.

- William Juliano of The Captain's Blog compared the Yankees' offensive output so far to their past history to see if we should feel confident or pessimistic about it.

Little Cars action for this Friday.  I'm sure some of that day drinking will take place outdoors this weekend, and The Cars fit pretty nicely in the day drinking mix for me.

Enjoy your long weekend, everybody.  Go Yankees!

Why No Gardner?

(Really shouldn't take that much thought.  Courtesy of Getty Images)

(Originally published at IIATMS/TYA)

I've written this post before, but if you're not familiar with it, here's the updated version.

Joe decided to give Brian McCann and Brett Gardner a night off last night and Derek Jeter a half-night off by DHing him against lefty Chris Sale.  That left the middle of his lineup pretty thin and the bottom half of his lineup almost non-existent.  A 6-9 of Brian Roberts, John Ryan Murphy, Brendan Ryan, and Zoilo Almonte wouldn't be ideal against Chris Hammond let alone the best left-handed pitcher in the American League, but that's what Joe went with.

Sale predictably shut down that weak lineup over his 6 innings of work.  Made them look terrible.  Took them out back and slapped them around like children.  The only thing that stopped the madness was the pregame pitch count limit Robin Ventura had put on Sale.  Now resting McCann I get.  He was due for a day off, he hasn't hit lefties that well, and he just had to play a day game after a night game in the 2 games against the Cubbies.  But sitting Gardner?  What was that about?  What reason was there for not having the 2nd-best hitter in the lineup right now in a lineup that was already half-gutted and facing an elite pitcher?

Game 46 Wrap-Up: CHW 3 NYY 2

(I'd be bumming too if I had to hit against Sale.  Courtesy of Getty Images)

I really don't understand why Joe played Derek Jeter and Brian McCann on Wednesday.  Day game after a night game, series starting against a better team in the same town on Thursday, why not take advantage against a crummy team like the Cubs?  Joe didn't and his lineup for last night's series opener against the White Sox suffered for it.  Ellsbury leading off again, Jeter DHing #2, Solarte 5th, and a 6-9 of Roberts, Murphy, Ryan, and Zoilo.  No McCann, no Brett Gardner (???), and Chicago ace Chris Sale coming off the DL.  Not a recipe for a lot of runs.  Or no runs, to be more accurate.  Because that's how many the Yankees got off Sale.

Game Notes:

- David Phelps has this Hughes-ian habit of not being able to finish off batters or innings.  He couldn't put away old man Paul Konerko after getting him down 0-2 with 2 outs in the 2nd and the White Sox strung together 3 hits and a walk to put 2 runs on the board.

- Sale absolutely tore through the Yankee lineup.  No hits through 5, 9 strikeouts including the side in the 1st and 3rd innings, and not even a single ball out of the infield through the first 4 innings.

- Phelps settled down after the 2nd and actually worked pretty efficiently into the 7th without giving up any more runs.  Retired 10 in a row at one point and let his defense work for him instead of trying to strike everybody out.

- The Yanks did finally get a hit, a Zoilo Almonte single in the top of the 6th, but they never came close to scoring against Sale.  They only started getting chances because Sale was removed after 6 innings.

- Phelps went 7 and Joe went to Alfredo Aceves for the 8th.  He did Alfredo Aceves things that added up to another White Sox insurance run.

- The only real chance the Yanks got against the Chicago bullpen came in the 9th when Ichiro singled, Jeter walked. and they moved up on a passed ball.  Mark Teixeira knocked them both home with a 2-out, 2-run single to make it interesting, but Alfonso Soriano struck out to end it.