Monday, August 27, 2012

Did Cash Fire Up Jeter In 2010?

(Did Cash use his Shaolin style on Jeter at the negotiating table in 2010?)

Barring a complete collapse in September AND a big-time month from somebody else, Derek Jeter is going to win the AL Silver Slugger Award for shortstop this season.  As a 38-year-old that is an incredible feat by itself, and it becomes even more impressive when you consider that Jeter isn't backing into the award by any means with his .323/.364/.448 (.354 wOBA) batting line this season.  In fact, put Jeter up against all the SS in the National League and the only one with a chance to beat him in the Silver Slugger category would be Ian Desmond.

Jeter has been absolutely brilliant this season, and has been excellent with the bat for over a calendar year now.  With the way things ended in 2010, it looked like Jeter was going to become an anchor on the lineup and the payroll when his new deal was signed.  With the way the negotiations went leading up to Jeter signing that new deal, it begs the question of whether or not Cash's public tactics served as a motivating factor for Jeter to improve his game.  It's not analytical, and there's no way to prove it, but the idea just popped into my head the other night and I think there might be some legitimacy to it.

To Slump Or Not To Slump...

(One of the few guys holding up his end with the stick lately.  Courtesy of The AP)

That is the question right now.  The offense has been maddeningly inconsistent of late, with the last 2 weeks of play being littered with too many men left on base, too many failures to capitalize with RISP, all-or-nothing production from the middle of the order, and a percentage of runs coming on HR that will only fuel the MSM talk about the Yankees "relying too much" on the longball.  In the past 2 weeks, the Yankees have gone 7-6, starting with an inspiring 3-1 series against the Rangers and ending with a 2-4 dud of a road trip to Chicago and Cleveland.  The pitching hasn't been all that steady either, but received a much needed shot in the arm with CC's return on Friday night.  I know the offense is dealing with its injury problems as well, but it just seems like these guys can't get on the same page and can't decide if they want to break out or slump.  It's frustrating.

Game 127 Wrap-Up: NYY 4 CLE 2

(200 non-HRs and counting.  Courtesy of The AP)

This road trip officially became a bad one after Saturday night's loss, so the Yankees would really only be putting lipstick on a pig with a win yesterday.  But a little bit of lipstick to make the pig a 2-4 pig instead of a 1-5 would still be a good thing and still help maintain the division lead.  The Yanks are getting to the point where the magic number in the division is worth paying attention to, and every win helps cut it down.  Freddy Garcia was back on the hill yesterday, trying to keep the lefty-heavy Cleveland lineup at bay for a third time in the series.

Game Notes:

- The bottom of the order hasn't been carrying their weight lately, but they were responsible for getting the scoring started in the 2nd.  Eric Chavez led off with a single, Raul Ibanez walked, Ichiro drove Chavez in with a single, and the top of the order drove in 2 more for a 3-0 lead.

- Each of the first 3 innings for Freddy was an adventure, but he overcame a passed ball on a strikeout in the 2nd and an error in the 3rd to keep Cleveland off the scoreboard.

- After a 1-2-3 4th inning, Garcia cracked with 2 outs in the 5th, allowing 4 straight baserunners and 2 runs before giving way to Boone Logan to get out of the inning.  It was a short outing for Freddy, and

- Curtis Granderson helped boost the lead back out with a solo HR in the top of the 6th off of Tony Sipp.  In doing so, Granderson reached a milestone that few non-HR hitters do by hitting his 200th career bomb.

- There was another good chance in the 7th after a Nick Swisher double and intentional walk to Robinson Cano, but Mark Teixeira struck out to end the inning.  The free pass was a good sign that Cano is starting to break out but a bad sign if it means pitchers are willing to face Teix right now.

- With an off day Thursday and Kuroda's CG Saturday, the bullpen aces were well-rested and Joe rode them to victory.  Logan pitched 1.2 innings of scoreless ball, David Robertson backed him up with 1.1 scoreless, and Rafael Soriano went 1.1 for the save.