Monday, March 10, 2014

2014 Storylines: A Rotation In Transition

(The symbolism.  Oh, the symbolism.  Courtesy of the AP)

There's nothing more important than starting pitching in today's MLB landscape.  It doesn't matter how many runs your lineup scores if your starter can't make those runs stand up, and if your lineup doesn't produce that many runs, you can still win games on the back of great starting pitching.  It's with that in mind that I kick off the 2014 "Season Storylines" series with a discussion of where the Yankee rotation finds itself heading into the 2014 season and where it might be heading in the near future.  There's a transition happening, one that could propel the Yankees back towards the top of the championship contender heap if things go right or one that could lead to their further decline down the contender ladder if they don't.

Spring Rotation Order Could Be Coming With A Dose Of Strategy

(Courtesy of the AP)

(Originally published at IIATMS/TYA)

After playing to a 3-3 tie in yesterday's game, the Yankees will get their first true off day of the spring today.  No games, no scheduled workouts at the complex, nothing.  Now 3 weeks into Spring Training and with 3 weeks remaining until Opening Day, they've reached the point where the focus starts to change and everything starts to matter a little more.  One thing Joe did over the weekend before today's off day was announce the rotation order for the next week.  If you happened to miss it in the course of your regular weekend activities, it looks like this:

Tuesday- CC Sabathia & Masahiro Tanaka (sim game)
Wednesday- Hiroki Kuroda
Thursday- Michael Pineda & Ivan Nova (split squad)
Friday- David Phelps
Saturday- Vidal Nuno & Adam Warren (split squad)
Sunday- Sabathia & Tanaka (split squad)

This coming weekend's games will be played in Panama, which is why the Yanks will have 2 starters and why they've yet to announce the first round of spring roster cuts.  Nuno and Tanaka will stay behind and make the starts in Tampa while Warren and Sabathia will travel to Panama, but the more important note here is the strategy Joe seems to be using with Sabathia and Tanaka to limit their exposure this spring.

Spring Training News And Notes: 3/9/14

It's never fun to tie in sports, but ST W-L results don't matter and that's why the Yanks and Rays were content to stop with the game locked up at 3 yesterday.

- David Phelps was the star of the day, tossing 5 shutout innings with just 3 hits allowed.  He didn't walk a batter, struck out 1, and got 8 GB outs.  Easily the best spring start so far.

- The first roster cuts were made when Jose Ramirez and Francisco Rondon were sent to MiL camp.  Both guys are hurt and not pitching, so not really a surprise or a big deal.

- Tyler Austin hit live pitching again yesterday, Kelly Johnson left the game after taking a ball in the back but should be fine, and it sounds like Brendan Ryan will be back in game action on Wednesday.  All good injury news.

- Yesterday's notable bullpens: Vidal Nuno, David Robertson, Matt Thornton, Hiroki Kuroda.