Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Joba=Beast Mode

I dropped a line about this on the AB4AR Page earlier this afternoon (hint, hint, "Like" that shit), but it definitely warrants its own post.

Cash was on "Boomer and Carton" this morning, a show I really miss and stupidly forget to put on every single morning when I get to the office, and he had some very interesting things to say about Joba's rehab.  Apparently, not only is Joba well ahead of schedule coming back from both TJS and his ankle surgery, but somewhere along the way he managed to transform back into the 21/22-year-old version of himself:

“Joba’s out of control.  The stuff he’s featuring is remarkable. He’s as high as 100 but upwards consistently 96, 97, 98. He looks really good...

So yeah, he’s due back here shortly. I mean, the worst-case scenario would be the first week of August, but he should be here ahead of that."

What's that you say?  Joba sitting upper 90s with the heater again?

/checks Fangraphs

Why he hasn't done that since 2007! Sounds like we got us a little Henry Rowengartner situation here.  This is great news indeed!  And it will be even better if he's still throwing that kind of smoke when he returns to the bullpen in the near future.  Say he's stupid for getting on the trampoline, say he's underachieved as a Yankee, say the Yankees should make him a starter again.  Say whatever you want about Joba.  But don't say he hasn't worked his ass off to get back this season, and don't say you aren't excited to see him take the mound again for the first time.

Now Joba just needs to get the 3 R's back into his routine and he'll be golden.

Thoughts On The Ichiro Trade

(Courtesy of Getty Images)

Just as he did in January with the Montero-Pineda trade, and just as he's done in years past with other deadline moves, Ninja Cash came out of the tall grass with a trade that nobody saw coming with the deal that went down for Ichiro Suzuki yesterday.  And just as he did with guys like Kerry Wood and Lance Berkman, Cash added a declining former All Star whose skill set matches the Yankees' needs for little cost.  With Brett Gardner all but OFFICIALLY officially out for the season and Nick Swisher still tweaking upper leg muscles, the Yankees' need for some outfield depth increased, and rather than get tied up in discussion over prospects and salaries of some of the bigger-name guys reportedly on the market, Cash and Co. made the wise choice to go low-risk/high-reward again with Ichiro.  This has been the Yankees' trade deadline MO for a few years now, and if Ichiro pans out as well as some of the other recent moves have, it could be another steal.

What's The Plan For David Phelps?

(Pop quiz- Is Phelps starting or relieving in this picture?  Courtesy of Getty Images)

Or perhaps the more appropriate question to ask would be, IS there a plan for David Phelps? Despite performing admirably as both a starter and reliever for the Yankees this year, Phelps has been unable to nail down a set position and role on the staff, and has been shuttled from bullpen to rotation and from the Majors to the Minors almost non-stop since the season began on April 6th. Making the transition to the show is almost never easy for young players (unless you're Mike Trout), and as a pitcher with an ever-changing role it has probably been even more difficult for Phelps. Yet Phelps currently sports a very good 2.78/3.95/3.62 slash line on the year, and his 9.73 K/9 is tops on the team for pitchers who have thrown more than 45 innings this season.

At this point, the questions surrounding Phelps should have moved from the "what CAN the Yankees do with him?" to the "what SHOULD the Yankees do with him?" variety.  The problem in trying to answer that question is that the Yankees don't seem to have a clue, and the constant changing of Phelps' role is starting to make me a little nervous. Check Phelps' usage timeline from the start of the regular season:

Game 96 Wrap-Up: NYY 4 SEA 1

(Guess all the Yanks needed to get a win was another former All Star.  Courtesy of The AP)

Yesterday morning the headlines were dominated by the Yankees' getting swept out of Oakland and what it could mean (cue the scary music).  By the time yesterday evening rolled around, that all got pushed way onto the back burner to make room for the announcement of the Yankees trading for Ichiro Suzuki.  That story only got bigger as Ichiro sat down for a pregame press conference, was put on New York's active roster, and started the game in right field for the Bombers last night in Seattle.  Whether the Ichiro news served as a distraction in the clubhouse to get the Yankees' focus away from the Oakland sweep is unknown.  What is known is that they came out last night and got back in the W column.

Game Notes:

- The Yanks put a runner on in each of the first 2 innings only to have them erased by inning-ending double play balls off the bats of Alex Rodriguez and Raul Ibanez.  I still don't understand how Kevin Millwood does it against these guys.

- New York starter Hiroki Kuroda worked around his own trouble in the 1nd inning after an A-Rod throwing error (been a couple of those lately) put runners on 2nd and 3rd with 2 outs, but seemed to have his offspeed stuff working again.

- Seattle decided to run on Kuroda in the bottom of the 3rd and got a run because of it on a John Jaso groundball.  Seattle stole 2 bases off of Kuroda in the inning, but would only get the 1 as a strikeout of The Jesus ended the threat.

- The lineup finally solved the Millwood riddle in the top of the 4th.  A pair of doubles by A-Rod and Mark Teixeira sandwiched around a Robinson Cano walk scored 1 run, and follow-up RBI singles by Ibanez and Andruw Jones gave the Yankees a 3-1 lead that they would not surrender.

- Kuroda was absolutely filthy after getting the lead.  He faced the minimum from the 4th inning through the 7th and recorded all 12 of his outs on the infield (6 groundouts, 6 Ks).

- Attempting to further make up for his earlier defensive gaffe, A-Rod hit a solo shot to left center in the 8th for an insurance run.  It was on a ball a little bit down in the strike zone, so it was good to see A-Rod go and get it and hit it with power.

- No fooling around for Joe.  He went to D-Rob and Sour Puss to finish it off and they sat the sides down in order in the 8th and 9th, although Robertson had a scare when he slipped and rolled his ankle on his second-to-last pitch of the inning.  No hangover for Soriano from his blown save the other night.

- Final line on Ichiro in his Yankee debut: 1-4, 1 SB, 2 LOB.  He singled and stole second in the 3rd inning in his first career Yankee at-bat and got a much-deserved ovation from the Seattle crowd.