Monday, April 22, 2013

Adjusting To Life Without Jeter

(Courtesy of Corey Sipkin/NY Daily News)

(Originally published at IIATMS/TYA)

The Yankees, their fans, and even Derek Jeter himself have known that his days as the team's starting shortstop were numbered.  That discussion was surely had with Jeter behind closed doors during his last contract negotiation and is more than likely the reason the final year of his deal became an optional one.  That timeline got sped up some when Jeter suffered his season-ending ankle injury last October and now appears to be speeding up again after last week's announcement that Jeter had re-injured his ankle, suffering a crack in the area of the original break that will put him on the shelf until at least the All-Star break.  That revelation fell into the "disappointing but not surprising" category for many of us who questioned Jeter's progress after the initial setback and cortisone shot, and now we, like the Yankees, have to figure out the best way to move forward without The Captain's familiar #2 anywhere on the lineup card.

Vernon Wells, Master Troll

I didn't think there was any way for Vernon Wells to actually turn me into a fan of his, but yesterday, just for a brief moment, he did.  After taking a healthy dose of boos from the still butthurt Toronto crowd for the entirety of the 3-game weekend series and dismissively wanking at them with his 7-15, 2 HR, 4 R, 3 RBI performance at the plate, Wells went the extra mile by making this great leaping catch to rob Toronto of an XBH and turn a double play and then "politely" doffing his cap to the crowd.

Telling an entire fanbase that has a legitimate reason to hate you for the way your career ended in that city, even if they should have gotten over it by now, to go fuck itself like that?  That's good trollin'.  Like I said, I didn't think there was a chance in hell Vernon Wells could make me a fan of anything he did in pinstripes this season, but Vernon, you magnificent bastard, you did it.

(Gif used courtesy of Pinstriped Bible)

Youkilis' Back Also Worth Keeping An Eye On

(Strikeout or back pain?  Only Youkilis knows for sure.  Courtesy of The Boston Globe)

Andy Pettitte returned to the mound Friday night and pitched 7 strong innings, easing concerns about the back issues that caused his last start to be pushed back.  As one back problem seemingly goes away (for now), another took its place in the form of Kevin Youkilis.  Youkilis left Saturday's game early after feeling some tightness in his back, and was a scratch from yesterday afternoon's game for the first time this season.  Joe said he expects Youkilis to be back in the lineup tonight against Tampa, and as expected, Youkilis has talked down the seriousness of the issue since the moment Saturday's game ended.  In the same way that Pettitte's back is still worth keeping on the radar, Youkilis and his back should also be closely monitored over the next few weeks.

Game 17 Wrap-Up: TOR 8 NYY 4

(Courtesy of the AP)

Just as they did in their last series against Arizona, the Yankees found themselves with a chance to take an unexpected sweep against the Blue Jays yesterday.  They also found themselves with Ivan Nova on the mound, which hasn't exactly been a recipe for success in the last year plus.  Nova's questionable back-of-the-rotation mate Phil Hughes got things moving in a positive direction in his last start, and the Yankees would have loved nothing more than to see Nova follow suit.  It didn't happen, and once again neither did the sweep.

Game Notes:

- It was business as usual for Nova in the first 2 innings: inconsistent fastball command, leadoff runners on, ill-timed walks, and cheap runs scored of sacrifice hits as a result.

- The Yanks got a run back in the top of the 3rd in the most unlikely of ways, a Chris Stewart leadoff home run.  Moments like that are rare, like seeing a unicorn in a field of 4-leaf clovers, and this one made it a 2-1 game.

- Nova worked in and out of trouble without allowing any more damage through the 5th inning.  He was actually in line for the win after the Yanks got 2 runs in the 5th on a pair of bases loaded walks and another in the 6th on a Brett Gardner sac fly to knock out Toronto starter Josh Johnson, but then the bottom of the 6th happened.

- Nova gave up a leadoff walk and a double to put 2 on with nobody out to end his day, then watched as Boone Logan and David Phelps combined to give up 4 more runs to give the lead back.  It was truly putrid work from both of those two, and fitting that Nova got the extra runs tacked onto his ledger.

- Joe stuck with Phelps for the next inning and he gave up a 2-run HR to J.P. Arencibia that basically sealed the deal.  A poor starting effort by Nova and an equally poor job of relief work behind him.