Monday, April 8, 2013

A Shift In Approach Against Cano

(Courtesy of the AP)

One of the biggest takeaways from Opening Day was the over-exaggerated defensive shift that John Farrell employed against Robinson Cano and the associated "pound him away" pitching strategy that accompanied it.  Both strategic moves were effective, as Cano managed just a measly single up the middle in the series, and I for one was interested to see what Detroit would do against him in the second series of the season.  Cano had a tough finish to his 2012 season, especially against left-handers, and in a league that's becoming increasingly copy cat-ish as more and more variations of statistical analysis become available, perhaps the Fraud Sawx had laid the groundwork for how to handle the one big bat in the current Yankee lineup.

Should Kuroda Be Starting Today If He Isn't 100%?

(Ouch, bro.  Courtesy of Corey Sipkin/Daily News)

It seems like a reasonable question to ask given this comment from Hiroki Kuroda to George King of The NY Post yesterday about his bruised middle finger:

"I would be lying if I said it wasn't bothering me.  At the same time I have to deal with it.''

That statement pretty much answers the, "... if he isn't 100%" part of the question and answers it with a clear answer of "no, he isn't 100%." Which brings me back to the first part of the question.  It's the second turn through the rotation in the seventh game of the season, and Kuroda is being sent out to start with an injury to his pitching hand that caused him to have trouble gripping the ball, locating his pitches, and resulted in his removal from the game last Wednesday.  He's basically admitted that the injury has not fully healed and that he doesn't know how it's going to affect him today.  Does that make anybody else as nervous as it makes me?

I know Kuroda made it through his Friday bullpen without any major issues, and he's got Adam Warren handcuffed to him again, which is probably why Joe and Cash feel comfortable letting him start.  I'd just feel a lot better about skipping Kuroda for a trip and starting Warren if that gives his finger enough time to fully heal.

Game 6 Wrap-Up: NYY 7 DET 0

(Courtesy of the AP)

Small sample size or not, getting swept by the Tigers to finish off a 1-5 start to the season would have been bad news for the Yankees.  They hadn't pitched well coming into yesterday's game, they hadn't hit much better, and to lose again with CC Sabathia on the mound would definitely get the panic meter started.  Fortunately it didn't come to that, as CC was much better than he was on Opening Day and in a very ace-like performance (for all those who still want to argue that he's not) outdueled Justin Verlander to get his team a much-needed win.

Game Notes:

- The bottom of the order got the offense started in the top of the 2nd.  Francisco Cervelli, continuing to tighten his grip on the starting job, hit a 1-out RBI double and then came home on Jayson Nix's, yes that Jayson Nix's, 2-run HR to make it 3-0 Yanks.

- Sabathia was noticeably better than he was last Monday, both in terms of velocity, which was slight up, and command.  He still wasn't in top form, but it was a step in the right direction.

- Through 5 innings, the Tigers had put at least one baserunner on in each inning.  But CC always worked around it, throwing a lot of good sliders and changeups, and never allowed a runner past second base.

- To his credit, Verlander regrouped and held the Yankees scoreless from the 3rd inning through his exit with 1 out in the top of the 8th.  The bullpen took over from there and it all went south for Detroit, once again at the hands of the bottom of the order.

- After a Vernon Wells double put runners on second and third, Ichiro hit a sac fly to score 1 run and Cervelli came up with another big RBI hit to extend the lead to 5-0.  Kevin Youkilis singled in 2 more in the top of the 9th to put the finishing touches on the game.

- D-Rob and Mo haven't gotten a lot of work early, and it showed as each had to work their way around a pair of hits in the 8th in 9th innings.  In typical D-Rob and Mo form, however, they ended each inning with a K.