Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Return Of The Old Guy Outfield Platoon

(Courtesy of the AP)

(Originally published at IIATMS/TYA)

The Yankees won for the first time in almost a week last night.  And they did it with one of their most recently productive bats on the bench to start the game.  With a left-handed starter on the mound, Joe elected to sit Ichiro Suzuki, probably for rest more than anything, and start Vernon Wells in right field.  With Zoilo Almonte looking good in his Major League debut and solidifying his role as the starting left fielder, right field turned back into the L/R platoon the Yankees always envisioned it, for one night at least.  With the way things worked out last night, Joe might want to consider going to that well more often.

AB4AR "Best Of The Month" Awards: June 2013

It feels strange picking "Best Of" awards after such a poor month for the Yankees.  Their 11-16 record was made even more depressing by how pitiful the offense became as players crashed back to regression earth or got re-injured, and the resulting lifelessness their games took on really started to test the patience of the fanbase. But believe it or not, there were a few bright, shiny moments and month-long displays of good baseball from a few guys, so to get some good vibes going in a new month where the boys are currently undefeated let's look back on those now.

Oh Really... ?

Saw this tweet come out from MLB Trade Rumors a little while ago, and while I have to say it's a bit surprising given how awful he's been recently, it's also good news for the Yankees and something I hope they pursue if this interest turns out to be more than just testing the waters.

I said earlier in the year it was better to wait until closer to the deadline to discuss trade scenarios for Joba.  Well, we're there now and it definitely bears talking about if the market is still there for him.  Joba has been really bad since coming off the DL (9.35/7.32 ERA/FIP split in June) and has been relegated to "only use when trailing" duty behind Shawn Kelley and Preston Claiborne.  As a free agent after this season, he's unlikely to re-sign with the Yankees and this could be their last chance to get something meaningful out of him.  They shouldn't expect much in return, but as a team that needs a lot of help the Yankees should definitely be willing to engage Atlanta and San Fran to try to get something useful back.

Game 82 Wrap-Up: NYY 10 MIN 4

(Courtesy of Getty Images)

A change of scenery from New York to Baltimore didn't do much to turn things around for the Yankees.  Maybe a change in time zone would.  They started a 4-game series in Minnesota last night - an hour behind in my neck of the woods - with Andy Pettitte on the mound.  That was the good news.  The bad news was that they had both Vernon Wells and Travis Hafner in the lineup against a lefty starter hitting 4th and 5th.  That's about as little protection as Joe can offer Robinson Cano right now, and if Twins starter Scott Diamond could safely navigate his way around Cano he could have had an easy night in front of him.

Game Notes:

- He did a pretty poor job of it in the top of the 1st.  Diamond threw 4 straight fastballs and missed with 3 to put Cano into a great hitter's count.  He threw a 5th 4-seamer and Cano parked it way out in center field for a 1-0 Yankee lead.

- Andy didn't do much to inspire confidence in the bottom of the 1st.  He missed his spots with 2 strikes, walked 2 batters, and made a blooper reel-worthy error on his way to a 42-pitch, 3-run frame.

-  Cano came up with a runner on in the top of the 3rd and once again Diamond tried to go to the fastball well.  It was a 87 MPH one and Cano took it to left field this time for a 2-run homer and a tie ballgame.

- After needing 42 pitches for the 1st, Andy settled down and worked the next 3 in just 28.  He had some difficulty finishing off the 5th and it might have cost him in the 6th when he left a 2-2 slider up to Chris Parmalee that turned into a go-ahead solo HR.  It was Andy's first HR allowed to a lefty this year.

- Cano continued to will the offense forward with a leadoff double in the 8th, and Ichiro reached on a bunt single to put runners on the corners with no outs.  Relief pitcher Jared Burton did the work for Hafner by throwing a ball away to score Cano, and a Zoilo Almonte GB single through short gave the Yanks the lead.

- The offense tacked in 5 (holy shit 5!!!) more insurance runs in their final 4 outs, D-Rob and Mo actually got to do their jobs for a change, and the Yankees got back on the right side of the ledger.