Friday, May 31, 2013

Friday Afternoon Linkapalooza: 5/31/13

Back in CT for the night and the East Coast for the weekend.  Let's get right to it.  Onto the links!

- On Monday, Lenny Neslin of lenNY's Yankees weighed the corner infield roster options with Teix and Youkilis scheduled to return and gave his solutions to the overcrowding problem.

- On Tuesday, Mike Axisa of RAB commented on the difficult to pinpoint problem with CC Sabathia this season.  I thought it was pretty easy in my analysis, but Mike makes some valid points and observations.

- On Wednesday, Mike Ashmore of Thunder Thoughts had all the videos of Teix and Youkilis' rehab ABs, in case you wanted to check in and see how their swings looked before they return tonight.

- William Tasker of IIATMS/TYA asked the all-important question of what happens when Teix and Youkilis do return and went through the most likely scenarios.

- SG of RLYW laid the bad May offensive numbers out there for everybody to just breathe in.  Damn that fucking stinks, doesn't it?

- On Thursday, William Juliano of The Captain's Blog dug through the numbers to show how legitimate the Yankees have been in their first 50 games.  No smoke and mirrors here, folks.

- Hunter Farman of Yanks Go Yard was back with another round of predictions for next month.  He smartened up and made some more realistic ones this month.  Kudos for that.

- Martin Riggs of NoMaas pointed out some statistical predictors of even better things to come for Shawn Kelley.

- Steven Goldman of Pinstriped Bible checked the numbers, standard and sabermetric, to try to determine just how good or bad Chris Stewart has been defensively this season.

- On Friday, Daniel Burch of The Greedy Pinstripes mused on the idea of bringing back Curtis Granderson in 2014.  I wouldn't be completely opposed to it, but that would kill any chances of getting below the luxury tax threshold.

- Chad Jennings of LoHud looked at all the changes that come with the return of Teix and Youkilis.

- Rob Abruzzese of Bronx Baseball Daily looked into Vernon Wells' and Travis Hafner's simultaneous slumps and what they need to do to get out of them.

We're going seasonal for this week's jam with "Summertime" by DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince of Scientology himself Will Smith.  At long last, it looks like we finally are moving towards summer.  70s in Wisco this weekend, 80s-90s out east.  Good times.

Enjoy your weekends, everybody.

The Importance Of Teix And Youkilis Returning

If there's a way to spin this current Yankee slump into a positive, it comes from pointing out how it's put a quick end to all the growing talk about the team not needing all their injured players back, and what's going to happen to the current players, and what do they do if the team plays worse with the better players back?  This current version of the Yankee team appears to have hit the wall and they are in serious need of a spark, one they thought they had when Curtis Granderson return.  More than anything else, even if neither guy gets a hit in tonight's game or all weekend, that's what Mark Teixiera and Kevin Youkilis will give this club when they return tonight.

And if it turns out they both can shake the rust off quicker than expected, even better.  From a performance standpoint, the 2 things this team lacks the most right now are right-handed power and patience.  The lack of power has been an issue all season long.  The lack of patience is something new and it's been at the forefront of this week's offensive disappearance.  Teix and Youkilis have always been good at working counts and drawing walks, and blending that patience with their power presence and balance they bring to the lineup should help turn things around.

Lyle Overbay has done the job well, but he's got an OBP in the .280s.  David Adams has looked more than capable of hacking it at the Major League level, but he was still never expected to be in this position this year and is already showing signs of being exposed at the plate.  Vernon Wells and Travis Hafner helped carry the offense through the first 6 weeks of the season, but the grind of playing every day appears to be catching up to them now.  Teixeira and Youkilis are the salve to ease these wounds, the reinforcements for the reinforcements, and they represent the first step towards a return to business as usual for the Yankees.  If they're both healthy enough to play every day, and I don't think the team would be bringing them back tonight if they weren't, they should be just what the doctor ordered.

Joba's Bullpen Role Lost Already?

(Courtesy of Getty Images)

I still think it's a little early to start talking about Joba Chamberlain as a trade piece, despite Buster Olney sparking some chatter on that front with his tweets earlier this week.  The Yankees aren't going to be in sell mode at the deadline if they're even close to the postseason race, and it's highly unlikely they could get matching value in return for Joba in a position of need.  For now, let's just see if Joba can keep himself on the field before worrying about whether or not he'll be wearing a Yankee uniform on it.

What I will talk about is where Joba stands in Joe's bullpen pecking order right now.  He had been the official 7th Inning Guy before getting hurt and was pitching well before he got hurt.  Last night, Joe went the 'pen in the 7th inning of a 1-run game after Vidal Nuno left and it wasn't Joba he called on but Shawn Kelley.  Kelley has been a monster this month and he was last night again, striking out the side swinging.  Joba got called into mid-inning fireman duty in the 8th and didn't exactly shine in that role.  Has Joba already slid down the totem pole?  How will Joe use him if Kelley has bypassed him?  That's what I'd be watching over these next few weeks before concerning myself with possible Joba trade scenarios.

Game 53 Wrap-Up: NYM 3 NYY 1

(Courtesy of Getty Images)

It's been a rush of a week with travel Monday/Friday and about 4.5 days worth of work crammed into 3, so I really don't think asking the Yankees to get 1 measly win to save some semblance of dignity in this series was too much.  The first 3 games of this series had been bummerific enough.  No need to send me home for the weekend with a frown on my face.  Vidal Nuno and his bag of left-handed tricks was on the mound before presumably going back down to Triple-A SWB when Andy comes back Monday, against the pretty terrible Dillon Gee.

Game Notes:

- Deflating 1st inning from the Bombers.  Brett Gardner and Robinson Cano led off with singles and were stranded after back-to-back Ks by Wells and Hafner and an Overbay groundout back to the pitcher.

- The Yanks left 2 more on in the 2nd but finally cashed in when Cano came up again in the 3rd.  He got a hit first-pitch swinging the first time.  Second time he needed just 1 more pitch to park a solo HR in the right field seats.

- He gave up a 2-run homer to Marlon Byrd in the top of the 2nd after trying a fastball up 1 time too many, otherwise it was hard to find fault with Nuno's night.  He allowed just those 2 runs on 3 hits in 6 IP, and retired the final 9 batters he faced.

- He got no support other than Cano's HR and left behind, though, as the offense continued to be inept and impatient to an almost comic level.  Dillon Gee had 8 strikeouts and 7 GB outs through 6 innings.  On 69 pitches.

- Joba Chamberlain didn't get the nod for the 7th inning after Nuno.  That went to Shawn Kelley and he struck out the side swinging.  But Joba was involved in the mess in the 8th that gave the Mets their insurance run, allowing the runners to move up on a wild pitch.

- It only got worse for the offense.  All you need to know is this- After Cano's HR in the 3rd, the final 20 Yankee hitters were retired in order.