Thursday, September 20, 2012

An Open Letter To D-Rob

(Courtesy of Getty Images)

Dear Dave,

Can I call you Dave?  Is that cool?  First off, let me just say that I'm a huge fan.  I've been a fan of yours ever since you first came up.  Love the escape acts, love the high socks, love the strikeouts, love the whole deal.  But you haven't really looked like yourself on the mound lately and I think I know what the problem is.  It's the cutter.  Look, I get that Mo is a great pitcher and a great teammate, and has the reputation of passing on the secrets of his cutter to any pitcher who wants to try and learn it.  As a Major League Baseball player, I imagine getting advice from Mariano Rivera on throwing a cutter is equivalent to mere mortals sitting at the right hand of Zeus while he rules the cosmos and tosses lightning bolts down on people, and I certainly don't blame you for trying to drink from that fountain of cutter knowledge.  But it's just not working for you, bro.  You need to cut out the cutter and get back to what you do best.

Jones & Ibanez Running On Fumes

(Doesn't look like a positive reaction to that AB.  Courtesy of Getty Images)

It's no secret that Andruw Jones and Raul Ibanez have been complete dog mess at the plate for a while now.  It should also come as no surprise that they've done a slow descent into below replacement-level production territory given how much more they've had to play this year because of injuries.  Jones' 264 total plate appearances are already more than he had last year, and Ibanez's 385 PA are much more than the Yankees envisioned him getting after seeing how poorly he produced over the course of 500+ the year before.  This is the risk you take when you fill your bench with old, limited players and it's finally coming back around to bite the Yankees at the most critical of times.  The question now becomes what do they do with them moving forward?

Game 148 Wrap-Up: NYY 2 TOR 1

(Looks like he's gonna get in.  Courtesy of Getty Images)

Andy did the job in the day game yesterday, albeit a job that required 4 innings from the bullpen.  Joe managed that game to win, as he should have, and used his core bullpen guys to do it.  So that same pressure that was on Andy to deliver knowing it was going to be a tough day on the 'pen was transferred to David Phelps for the night game.  Phelps has no worries about pitch count, but he hadn't exactly been given a ton of leash in his previous starts this season.  He got some leash last night, and he ran with it all the way to a clean doubleheader sweep.

Game Notes:

- Walking guys will kill ya, and Phelps got another lesson in that in the top of the 2nd.  He gave out 2 consecutive free passes and got burned on a 2-out single by Adeiny Hechavarria.

- The bottom of the order got things started for the offense in the next half inning, with the suddenly red hot Ichiro involved again.  Jayson Nix walked and stole second base, then got thrown out at home on a single by Ichiro.  Never one to let a clutch 2-out scoring opportunity go by, Chris Stewart followed up with a run-scoring double to tie the game at 1.

- It was a damn good thing the bottom half was doing something, because the middle of the order was where rallies went to die.  Alex Rodriguez and Curtis Granderson struck out to strand a Nick Swisher leadoff walk in the 3rd, then did it again to strand Swish and Cano to end the 5th.

- Phelps learned his lesson after messing around in the 2nd, and he was lights out after that.  He found his curveball and retired 10 in a row from the 3rd through the 6th.  Again, weak opposing offense, but still a solid job of pitching by Phelps.

- Phelps kept rolling into the beginning of the 7th until a Derek Jeter error broke his momentum.  A 2-out walk ended his night at 110 pitches and still just the 1 run when he handed it over to the 'pen.

- Ichiro was just absolutely out of his mind yesterday.  He stole second and third in just a handful of pitches in the 6th inning, and then singled home Granderson for the go-ahead run with 2 outs in the bottom of the 8th.

- I didn't think Joe would have the balls to use D-Rob or Soriano in both games, but he want back to Raffy for the 9th and Sour Puss delivered again.  A 9-pitch save, his second of the day, and he earned his untuck yesterday with a multi-save day.