Friday, April 26, 2013

BREAKING NEWS: Everybody And Their Mother Leaving Tonight's Game With Injuries

Well this hasn't been a very fun night for the Yankees, and the game isn't even 3 innings old yet.  After first losing Francisco Cervelli to an injury to his right hand on the 5th pitch of the game in the top of the 1st, they've also just lost Ivan Nova to an apparent leg injury after he pulled up awkwardly delivering a pitch.

No official word yet on either player, although Sweeny Murti is hearing whispers of a fracture for Cervelli's hand and Donnie Collins reported that Austin Romine left the Triple-A RailRiders game mid-inning quickly after Cervelli left the big league game.  Neither of those things are good signs, and chances are Cervelli is going to miss a significant chunk of time.  More on both of these stories as it becomes available.

** UPDATE 7:44 PM- Via Meredith Marakovits, Cervelli has a fractured right hand that will require surgery and Nova left with pain in his elbow.  Not good news for either guy. **

** UPDATE 7:47 PM- Via the whole beat writer contingent, Cervelli is expected to miss at least 6 weeks; MRI on Nova's right elbow scheduled for tonight. **

** UPDATE 8:12 AM 4/27- Cervelli's hand surgery is scheduled for today, Romine has been confirmed as the call up to replace him and should be on the roster and in the dugout today, and while Nova's MRI results still aren't known, it's been reported that he was complaining of tightness in his triceps area.  Should find out more today. **

Friday Afternoon Linkapalooza: 4/26/13

Shorter than usual linkaround this week thanks to more than a few early nights in bed.  The kid's tired, people.  Burning the wick at both ends and trying to keep up with a regular season writing schedule can do that to ya.  But what this Palooza lacks in quantity, it definitely makes up for in quality.  Now onto the links!

- On Tuesday, William Juliano of The Captain's Blog looked at Joe's early lineup juggling and how it stacks up historically to some of the other instances of high lineup tinkering in team history.

- Dan Hickey of Bronx Pinstripes had a little fun with weird names and put together the all-time best name team in Yankee history.

- On Wednesday, Derek Albin of Pinstripe Pundits pointed out another trend in Phil Hughes' pitching breakdowns that could explain his recent turnaround.  Fastballs for strikes and offspeed for out pitches, who knew?!

- Greg Corcoran of Bronx Baseball Daily interviewed Low-A prospect Greg Bird, who's making the transition from catcher to full-time first baseman this season.  Bird was on the list of guys who just missed the cut for this year's AB4AR Top 30.

- Martin Riggs of NoMaas displayed some statistical trends in groovy chart form to attempt to further temper the growing concerns about CC Sabathia's fastball velocity.

- On Thursday, Mike Axisa of RAB found some troubling offensive trends in the team's recent 6-game road trip, trends that fit the original description of this "weak" lineup.

- El duque of It Is High... made an astute observation about Ichiro's unwillingness to take walks and the crippling effect it's having on his offensive value.

- Mike Eder of IIATMS/TYA looked at Ichiro's poor start another way, from the bat speed standpoint, to see if that was part of the problem.  A slow bat-no take combination would not be fun next season.

- On Friday, Jason Cohen of Pinstriped Bible examined Eduardo Nunez's dreadful start to the season.  Nunez needs to get it going now that Jeter is out 'til the ASB.

- Bryan Van Dusen of The Greedy Pinstripes commented on the latest rumors about the abandonment of the austerity plan and what the causes might be.

This week's Friday Jam is one of the better Metallica cover performances IMHO, "Stone Cold Crazy."  I was pretty close to losing it yesterday afternoon after an especially shitty week at the office, and after relaxing and cooling off at our weekly post-work basketball game this was the song playing on the radio when I got in my car.  Made me laugh.

Enjoy your weekends, everybody.

What Was The Deal With That Jeter Press Conference Yesterday?

Let me preface this by reminding everyone that Derek Jeter is my hands down favorite baseball player of all time and the reason I started becoming a real Yankee fan.  But what the hell was up with that press conference before yesterday's game?  Did that not make any sense to anybody else?  It was like he felt he had to come out and clear the air about this whole ankle re-break setback, but I really haven't noticed any kind of media speculation about his current status.  We've known what we've known - that there's a crack in the bone, doctors say it doesn't need surgery and should completely heal, and Jeter should be back after the All-Star Break - since the story first broke and nothing has changed since then.  There was no air that needed clearing.

And of course Jeter was his typical self, promising the fans that he'd be back and saying he expected to play to his usual level when he did come back.  He was quick to dismiss any suggestion that the injury or his age would diminish his productivity and reiterated that he doesn't like to and won't be addressing his injuries when he returns.  So, if I understand this correctly, Derek Jeter, the player who hates talking to the media about his injuries, called a press conference to talk to the media about his injury to tell everybody what they already knew and/or assumed about his injury.  That's basically all yesterday was, right?

P.S.- No MLB TV package, Derek?  Come on, bro.  That's MY go-to excuse.

On Joe's Recent Lack Of Pinch Hitting Logic

(Come on, Joe.  You're better than that.  Courtesy of the AP)

As a blogger and a Yankee fan who's had to warm up to Joe Girardi and his management style over the years, I have to say that I think he's done a fantastic job through the first 21 games this season.  Put into an even tougher position with the lineup than the one he ended the 2012 postseason in, Joe has been proactive and creative in his approach to building the lineup each day, even if it hasn't always lead to positive results.  He's also been good about using his bullpen and not over/underworking any of his important pitchers.  The team's unexpected (in my eyes at least) 12-9 start is just as much a testament to the job Joe has done as it is to the performances of the players on the roster.  That's why I hate to have to pick nits and beat him up a little here, but there have been two recent decisions to not pinch hit late in games in situations that were screaming for it that left me wondering what Joe was thinking.

Game 21 Wrap-Up: NYY 5 TOR 3

(You won't like John Gibbons when he's angry.  Courtesy of the AP)

After a quick 3-3 AL East road trip, the Yankees returned home last night to host one of their recent road opponents, the Toronto Blue Jays.  And after getting schooled by a righty their last night in Tampa, they were once again facing a lefty and a familiar one in Mark Buehrle.  Life's never easy in the AL East and it wasn't easy last night with Hiroki Kuroda on the mound, who looked very shaky in his first few innings.  But surprise, surprise, the offense (surprisingly) woke up just enough against a lefty to get the job done.

Game Notes:

- Shaky might be an understatement for Kuroda early.  He was leaving a lot of pitches up and wasn't commanding his offspeed stuff.  He gave up 4 hits in the 1st, 2 in the 2nd, and 3 runs on HR by Edwin Encarnacion and Brett Lawrie.

- That deficit didn't last long, though, thanks to a return of the Yankee power bats.  Vernon Wells clubbed a solo HR to center in the bottom of the 2nd, Robinson Cano smashed a 2-out, 3-run homer to take the lead in the 3rd, and Francisco Cervelli hit a solo shot in the 4th to pad that lead to 5-3.

- As bad as Kuroda looked in the first 2 innings, he got it together quickly after that.  Kuroda got through the next 4 innings scoreless, retiring the last 7 batters he faced and 13 of the last 14.  It wasn't pretty, but 3 runs in 6 innings isn't bad at all.

- The offense was never able to add to that lead, however, leaving multiple runners on base in the 6th, 7th, and 8th innings.  Plenty of chances, just never got that one big insurance hit.

- Strange play in the bottom of the 7th, when the umps reversed an out call on a Ben Francisco bunt attempt, saying Encarnacion was bobbling the ball.  Francisco might have been safe anyway, but their was no bobble and that's never a call you see overturned.  John Gibbons came out to argue and predictably (and entertainingly) got run.

- Turns out those insurance runs weren't needed.  Joba and D-Rob handled the 8th without issue and the ageless Mariano Rivera locked down a 1-2-3 9th for the win.