Friday, September 13, 2013

Do People Really Still Think Eduardo Nunez Is A Thing?

('Cause I bet Robbie doesn't anymore)

(Originally published at IIATMS/TYA)

When the Yankees traded for Brendan Ryan earlier this week, the reaction was decidedly positive and it should have been.  Ryan gave the Yankees what they most lacked at the shortstop position and his weak offensive makeup was more easily covered by the rejuvenated middle of the order than it would have been months back.  But I still saw some people who thought Eduardo Nunez should still be the starter, as always citing his tools and "good hitting" as reasons to keep him as the primary shortstop while Jeter was out.  I don't want to make a big thing of this, so to those people I just to have to ask, what Eduardo Nunez are you watching?

Friday Afternoon Linkapalooza: 9/13/13

Big series this weekend. HYYYYOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOGE series.  Don't need any lead in other than that.  Now onto the links!

- On Monday, el duque of It Is High... pointed out something else Dellin Betances was left out of besides the bullpen pecking order.

- On Tuesday, SJK of NoMaas turned everyone's attention back to the numbers to show how terrible an all-around baseball player Eduardo Nunez is and has been this and every season.  You know, in case you were still bummed that he lost his job to Brendan Ryan.

- Greg Corcoran of Bronx Baseball Daily released his end-of-season Top 50 Prospects list.  Props to Greg for going through the effort of ranking 50.  I have a hard enough time doing 30.

- On Wednesday, Hunter Farman of Yanks Go Yard campaigned for the Yankees to get active in the Japanese FA agent market again now that their rotation is looking light for 2014 and Masahiro Tanaka appears to be heading stateside.

- Andrew Mearns of Pinstriped Bible analyzed the Overbay/Reynolds first base platoon and how well that's worked out since the acquisition of Reynolds.

- Matt Warden of RAB broke down the Yankees' pursuit of Japanese FA to be Masahiro Tanaka and how he would fit into next year's plans.

- On Thursday, Daniel Burch of The Greedy Pinstripes looked ahead to 2014 and the free agents available to fill the gap expected to be left open at third base.

- Chad Jennings of LoHud had the video and highlights of Derek Jeter's press conference announcing his season-ending DL stint.

- Jason Rosenberg of IIATMS/TYA used a recent Jayson Stark article to show how the thinking is still ass backwards when it comes to PEDs and DUIs in baseball.

- On Friday, Tom Ley of Deadspin chimed in with another dose of proper perspective on the A-Rod situation.  Anybody still trying to argue that they don't want him on the field is an idiot.

Going back to another standby for this week's jam, "Street Carp" by Deftones.  Haven't had them in the mix since the new album last fall.  Today feels like a good day to dust off something from their peak years.

Enjoy your weekends, everybody.  Be on the lookout for a live blog this Sunday.  I think Yanks-Sawx is the ESPN Sunday night game.

Gut Check Time For Sabathia & Nova This Weekend

(Can't have this again, Ivan.  Courtesy of the AP)

The Yankees have fought their way back to 4-4 on this 11-game meat grinder and they're heading back to Boston this weekend to finish it up.  They took a pretty bad beating in the 4 games at The Stadium last weekend, and need much better starting pitching to make this weekend's results different.  Hiroki Kuroda gets the ball tonight and he was pretty good last Sunday against the Red Sox.  The bigger concerns are with the two guys following him, CC Sabathia and Ivan Nova.

Gardner Out With A Strained Oblique

While the game was recorded as a win in the standings, the Yankees suffered yet ANOTHER big injury loss last night.  Brett Gardner left after his at-bat in the top of the 1st inning and was diagnosed by team doctors with a strained left oblique.  He apparently did it on a check swing during the at-bat and he is traveling back to New York today to get an MRI.  Regardless of the results, chances are good that Gardner's 2013 season is over.

Gardner has been the second most important position player after Robinson Cano this season.  His absence leaves a huge hole at the top of the lineup and weakens the outfield defensively.  The Yankees are ill-equipped to replace him in the leadoff spot, the most likely candidates being Ichiro (hell no) and Curtis Granderson (yes, please), and the replacement of Gardner in center field likely means more playing time for Vernon Wells (sweet Jesus, no) or Zoilo Almonote (meh) when the pitching matchups are favorable.

He wasn't as hot this week as he was the week before, but Gardner is still head and shoulders better than those other guys and there's no way to overstate how big of a hit the team will take on both sides of the ball without him.  Maybe he gets lucky and today's MRI shows that it's not too and he can return in a few days.  The history and nature of oblique strains makes that very unlikely though, and now the Yankees have one more obstacle to overcome in a season filled to the brim with them.

Game 147 Wrap-Up: NYY 6 BAL 5

(Brendan Ryan, rally starter.  Courtesy of the AP)

I don't know how they keep doing it, but they keep doing it.  With 2 crummy starters pitching 3 innings each, a blown lead in the 8th by one of the most reliable relievers in the business, and a 9th inning rally created by the worst hitter in the lineup, the Yankees took their third straight from the rival Orioles to stay just 1 game back in the race for the second Wild Card spot.

Game Notes:

- The Yankees couldn't make anything out of 2 2-out hits in the 1st inning, so they decided to follow up with 2 hits to start the 2nd.  The second one of those was a Mark Reynolds HR and Phil Hughes had a 2-0 lead with which to work.

- That lead doubled in the top of the 3rd when they decided to slow play Wei-Yin Chen.  A pair of walks sandwiched around an Alfonso Soriano double loaded the bases with nobody out, and a Vernon Wells single brought 2 home to make it 4-0.

- Hughes actually did a decent job holding that lead through 3 innings.  He worked around a few hits, gave up a run in the bottom of the 3rd, and ended that inning by striking out Chris Davis.  That wasn't enough to stop Joe from yanking him after a leadoff error in the 4th to play matchups with David Huff.  That's not a short leash, that's a gimp suit.

- And when it works out the way it did, Joe looks like a genius.  Huff finished the 4th without further hazard and tossed in 2 more 1-run innings to boot.  Joe split the start up between his 2 half-starters and got 6 innings of 2-run ball.  That'll work.

- Curtis Granderson tacked on an insurance homer in the 7th and it was a good thing too because the bullpen broke down.  Huff's run came on a homer to Nick Markakis (can't happen), and David Robertson gave up 2 singles and a 3-run dagger to Danny Valencia in the 8th (definitely can't happen) to tie the game heading into the final inning.

- Despite the strange decision to sac bunt with C-Grand, the Yankees got the go-ahead run from an improbable Brendan Ryan leadoff hit thanks to another fortunate wild pitch in the top half of the 9th.  Mo went 1-2-3 in the bottom and the Yankees had a HYOOOOOOGE win.