Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Joba, Your Fastball. Woof!

I thought the slider was going to be the key for Joba this season, and truthfully he could stand to tighten up the location on that baby too.  But his fastball has been an absolute disaster in his first 5 appearances.  Not only is he throwing it over a MPH slower than he did last year (according to FanGraphs and Texas Leaguers), he's also not throwing it for strikes:

(Click to enlarge, courtesy of TL)

Sweet fancy Moses, that is terrible!  Almost every pitch is either in the meaty middle portion of the strike zone or nowhere near the strike zone.  He's thrown his 4-seamer for strikes less than 50% of the time in the 47 times he's thrown it so far, and if he wants to cut down on the walks and set up his slider more effectively he needs to start commanding it better.

P.S.- Yeah, I know I just mixed '90s references there with "Home Alone" and "Seinfeld."  I'm that good.  Deal with it.

Rotation Issues Creating An Extra Need For Middle Relief, An Opportunity For Young Pitchers

(Courtesy of Getty Images)

(Originally published at IIATMS/TYA)

Last Tuesday, in light of the middle relief corps' poor start, I questioned the decision making in letting pitchers like David Aardsma and the still injured at the time Clay Rapada go in favor of guys like Shawn Kelley and Cody Eppley.  I also quickly questioned the logic in keeping the team's top two spot starters, David Phelps and Adam Warren, together in the bullpen as long relievers rather than sending one of them down to stay stretched out in case the Yankees needed a spot start or two.  The middle relief issue has faded to the background a bit as the Yankees have gone on a nice little 6-1 run since their rough start, and Eppley has been banished to Triple-A thanks to the return of Phil Hughes to the rotation.  But as that rotation has come together and everybody has gone through at least twice, the need for strong middle relief, particularly long relief, has continued to be put on display.

Game 12 Wrap-Up: NYY 4 ARI 2

(Courtesy of the AP)

The Yankees returned to action last night after Monday's scheduled off-day, trying like so many others to get back a little sense of normality after the events that occurred in Boston.  There was a moment of silence scheduled before the game, a planned playing of "Sweet Caroline" at the end of the 3rd inning, and because of the off-day the Yanks were using last night's game as their way to honor Jackie Robinson, so there was a little more emotion to last night's game than a normal early-April interleague game against an NL West team would have.  And as they've been apt to do during this hot streak, the Yanks did just enough to get a W.

Game Notes:

- A shortage of scoring opportunities was no issue early.  The Yanks loaded the bases with 2 outs in the bottom of the 1st and came away with nothing, and did the same thing in the 2nd against a shaky Brandon McCarthy.

- Ivan Nova matched McCarthy nibble for nibble, and was the first to crack in the top of the 3rd when he gave up 2 runs after loading the bases with no outs.  He seemed to be struggling with his new sinker command and was inconsistent with his curveball, and Joe had the 'pen up when the trouble started.

- The lineup got another big opportunity in the bottom of the 4th after a pair of leadoff singles from the bottom of the order, and they finally cashed in when Robinson Cano CRUSHED a 3-run HR to give the Yanks a 3-2 lead.  McCarthy tried to sneak a 302 change by him and Robbie knew it was coming.

- Nova recovered and made it through 5 without further issue, and then handed the game over to the bullpen.    Boone Logan and Joba Chamberlain were up first and worked the 6th and 7th easily.

- Big insurance run tacked on in the bottom of the 7th after Kevin Youkilis singled and Travis Hafner doubled to lead off the inning.  It involved another bases loaded situation, and they didn't get as much as they probably wanted out of it, but Eduardo Nunez's sac fly was still a big run.

- D-Rob and Mo nailed down the 9th in typical "D-Rob and Mo" fashion and the Yankees scratched out another close win.