Friday, September 21, 2012

Friday Afternoon Linkapalooza: 9/21

It's the second straight weekend that I've got major activities planned, people, so you're looking at another light weekend of coverage on AB4AR.  A good friend of mine is getting married in a couple weeks, so it's another bachelor party for me (bummer).  We're doing it in Chicago, and yes I will be wearing pretty much all Yankee stuff per usual, and I'm planning on getting at least as hammered as I was at the bachelor party back in April.  This will be the second straight bachelor party where the overwhelming majority of the wedding party will not be in attendance, including the best man.  Maybe it's just my own pathetic, single, plenty-of-money-in-my-pocket life talking, but I just don't see any scenario where it's acceptable to be chosen to be somebody's best man and then not be present at the bachelor party.  You should have to forfeit your "best man" status for that and let better friends like me move up the groomsmen ladder.  Now onto the links!

- On Monday, SG of the Replacement Level Yankee Weblog used some zone-related advanced stats to compare Derek Jeter and Eduardo Nunez as defensive shortstops.

- El duque of It Is High... argued for Eduardo Nunez and Chris Dickerson getting more ABs over Jones and Ibanez.  Hard to argue against that when you check the numbers.

- On Tuesday, Matt Keegan of Pinstriped Bible looked at CC Sabathia's declining fastball in 2012, and how his approach has changed along with it.

- Mike Eder, TYA's resident PITCHf/x guru, examined the changes to Ivan Nova's delivery mechanics in his first start off the DL and the indication that he's changing his approach as well.

- DBurchHero of The Greedy Pinstripes made his case for why Rafael Soriano might NOT opt out of his deal after this season.  That's been a hot rumor lately, but there are some strong reasons for him to stay.

- On Wednesday, Alex Pugliese of Yanks Go Yard asked if Russell Martin could be back with the Yankees next year.  He could be and he will be.

- On Thursday, Mike Axisa of RAB pointed out that it's been the Yankees' young, homegrown starters getting the job done lately, a fact that all the Yankee haters can take and shove right in their ears.

- Rob Abruzzese of Bronx Baseball Daily mapped out a postseason roster based on recent performance, and didn't find room for Andruw Jones or Raul Ibanez on it.

- William Tasker of IIATMS, inspired by a Twitter exchange with Abruzzese, broke down the numbers to show the big decline in team production in the second half and how the Yankees' season-long offensive numbers can be misleading.

- On Friday, Matthew B of Yankees Fans Unite discussed CC Sabathia's down season and the pivotal role he plays in the team's chances for success going forward.

- William Juliano of The Captain's Blog evaluated the playoff races under the new Wild Card format and concluded that, for this year at least, they have been watered down.

We interrupt the regularly scheduled Friday Jam rotation for some more new Deftones.  They released the first song, "Leathers," from their upcoming album earlier this week, and it's quite good to say the least.  Deftones are just the balls.

Enjoy your weekends, everybody.  I know I will.  See ya sometime late Sunday.

Joe Leaning On His Bullpen Core

(How many untucks is too many?  Courtesy of Getty Images)

A Monday or 2 ago, I suggested the idea of Joe tinkering with his middle relief crew to see if he could find some more stable options.  With the deeper pool of guys he could help cover for the regression of some players, keep some of the harder-worked guys rested, and possibly overturn a viable option or 2 for postseason roster consideration.  Not only has that tinkering not really taken place, the regular middle relief crew has seen their workload cut back a bit in these last 2 weeks.  Joe has been leaning heavily on his core group of high-leverage relief pitchers lately, and now there might be cause for concern.

Game 149 Wrap-Up: NYY 10 TOR 7

(Gotta admire it when you haven't hit many in a while.  Courtesy of the AP)

The last 2 times the Yankees have played Toronto before this series it hasn't gone well.  Maybe it was Andy coming back, maybe it was the doubleheader, maybe it was just Ichiro being crazy, video game on fire, but the Yankees turned in a much better performance in terms of doing what needed to be done to win games in this series, and last night was a perfect example.  The pitching wasn't great, the offense blew a few opportunities, but they cashed in big in one inning and tacked on insurance when they needed it.  Don't look now, but this team has won 5 straight.

Game Notes:

- The stuff was definitely there for Phil Hughes last night.  The command?  Not so much.  Hughes got 5 swinging strikeouts in his first 3 innings of work, but he also gave up 2 XBH in the 2nd and a pair of hit batters in the 3rd to go down 2-0.

- Hughes found a little command in the 4th, and he ended up getting himself into the record books.  Hughes had to get a 4th out after a Russell Martin passed ball put a runner on.  He ended up getting all 4 outs in the inning via strikeout, just the second Yankee pitcher to do it.

- The offense only had 1 hit off Aaron Laffey after 3 innings, but it was an Ichiro HR to keep them within striking distance.  They were also making Laffey work by drawing a few walks.

- Those few walks turned into a few more in the bottom of the 4th, and then it spiraled into an all-out offensive assault.  Ichiro doubled home 2 more runs (dude is fucking nuts!), Derek Jeter singled home a run, and Nick Swisher slump busted by hitting a grand slam to make it a 7-run inning and an 8-2 Yankee lead.

- Hughes got 2 quick outs in the 5th, and appeared to be adjusting fine to pitching with the big lead, but then he gave up a dreaded 2-out walk and a home run to Moises Sierra.  His fastball was popping and his slutter was nasty; he just never really found that command.

- No worries, the offense got him his 2 runs back in the bottom half.  Jayson Nix hit a 2-out double to plate Curtis Granderson and The Captain followed that up with an RBI single of his own to make it 10-4.

- He's been mostly bad since his 4-inning save debut, but give credit to Derek Lowe for working 2 scoreless innings behind Phil.  He had his sinker working and even got a few strikeouts.

- Things got a little hairy in the 8th with Cory Wade on the mound, but Joba came in to limit the damage and then Joe went back to D-Rob for the 9th after his bombshow in the day game on Wednesday.  Robertson showed he had moved on by striking out the side to close things out.