Thursday, June 7, 2012

An "Oofda" For C-Grand

Curtis, Curtis, Curtis.  This is not how it's supposed to work, my dude.  I scratch your back, you scratch mine.  I slobber all over your nuts, you slobber...

Well OK, I guess we don't have to go there.  But still.  The Golden Sombrero?  Really???  Not kosher, bro.  Not kosher at all.

Groundballs Are Good

The Yankee rotation is in the midst of one of its hot streaks again, hopefully one that lasts a bit longer than just one turn or a turn and a half through.  A big part of that has been the 2 strong outings from Phil Hughes and Ivan Nova, the biggest early underachievers on the staff.  It's probably not coincidental that Hughes and Nova have the 2 lowest GB rates amongst the starting staff, but those rates have been trending in the right direction since the start of the season and are likely a big part of their recent turnarounds.

Hughes GB Rate: 30.9% in April, 33.6% in May, 38.1% in June

Nova's GB Rate: 42.5% in April, 46.5% in May, 54.5% in June

It's Time To Call Up Dellin Betances

(Get the kid back in pinstripes.  Courtesy of Michael L. Stein/US Presswire)

On paper, Dellin Betances is everything you would want in a pitching prospect. He's a big, hulking kid with top shelf electric stuff. With that combination, saying his ceiling is a right-handed Randy Johnson is not outside the realm of possibilities, and Betances is the most decorated prospect currently in the Yankee system. He's appeared on more organizational top 15, top 10, and top 5 lists than anybody, and has been on Baseball America's Top 100 Prospects 3 times, including each of the last 2 editions. He's also having arguably the worst year in his 6-year Minor League career this year, and at age 24 he's rapidly approaching make-or-break territory. That being the case, I think now is the time to pull the trigger and bring Betances up to the show and stick him in the bullpen.

Game 55 Wrap-Up: NYY 4 TB 1

(Courtesy of The AP)

Things are never as bad and hopeless as they seem when they're going poorly and they're never as good as they seem when they're going well in baseball.  In such a long season, with so many games, there are always going to be peaks and valleys, and the Yankees, after wallowing in a deep valley a few weeks ago, have been slowly rising back up towards a peak since then.  Last night, they found themselves just a half game out of 1st place in the AL East, with a chance to leap over at least one of the teams still in front of them.  A good start from Ivan Nova would have been gone a long way in helping to make that happen.

Game Notes:

- The Yankees took an aggressive approach against Tampa starter Alex Cobb early, and it quickly paid dividends in the bottom of the 2nd when Mark Teixeira beat the hated shift by smoking a hanging curve into the second deck in right for a 1-0 Yankee lead.

- Nova gave up a leadoff single to Desmond Jennings, but he was solid through 3.  He was throwing strikes, working from ahead in the count, and generally locating his fastball down.  He did miss over the plate a few times, but they didn't lead to any trouble.

- In case you thought you could predict baseball, the bottom of the 4th was a reminder that you cannot.  After Alex Rodriguez drew a 1-out walk, he was picked off straying too far away from first base on a freak passed ball that bounced right back to Jose Molina.  On the very next pitch, Robinson Cano lined a HR to right for a 2-0 lead.

- He had to work a little harder in the 4th, but Nova cruised through 7.  He threw some good sliders and backdoor curveballs, but the fastball was his best pitch and he was getting a lot of GB outs.

- Cobb really didn't pitch a bad game at all.  He made 2 mistakes that cost him, and they were 2 of only 5 hits he allowed in 7+ innings of work, but for the most part he held the Yankee offense in check and gave his team a chance before tiring in the 8th.

- Swish and Chavez's back-to-back RBI doubles off of Cobb in the bottom of the 8th provided some comforting insurance runs.

- For a guy who's had a tough year to date, it was a bit surprising to see Joe leave Nova in for the 9th.  I would have rather seen him go out on a high note, and leadoff back-to-back triples by TB to start the 9th immediately made the decision look awful. Soriano came on and went 1-2-3 for the finish.