Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Tonight's Rainout Notes

By now, you're probably aware that tonight's game has been cancelled due to rain.  The Yanks and Mariners still have to play tomorrow's series finale, but there will be no doubleheader to make up today's game.  The Mariners have a doubleheader scheduled next week as well and didn't want to put the added strain on their starting rotation.  Fair enough.

Instead, the 2 teams will play the makeup on Monday, June 2nd.  Seattle's in the area and both teams have an off-day that matches up.  That spares the Yankees this week.  They would have had to make another move to fill a spot start had they been forced to play 2 tomorrow and they're not exactly flush with starting pitching right now.  The lost off-day will result in them playing 17 straight games for a stretch, but I'll take that over Chris Leroux getting a start in a New York Yankee uniform.

As for the current rotation plans, the Yanks will use the day off today to skip over David Phelps' spot in the rotation and pitch Hiroki Kuroda on regular rest tomorrow in the series finale.  This also works to the Yanks' advantage as 1 less start they have to cover while Pineda's out.  I'll take it.

Why Is Kelly Johnson's Role Shrinking?

(Have you seen this man?  Courtesy of Getty Images)

(Originally published at IIATMS/TYA)

Between not finding suitable everyday options for second and third base and finding even fewer for a backup at first base, the general consensus was that Kelly Johnson was going to be an important part of the infield this year.  At the end of Spring Training, he was the starter at third, the backup and perfect world best man for the job at second, and the backup for Teix at first as declared by Joe.  As a guy who'd spent the better part of the last 4 seasons either at second or in left field, that was a lot to handle, and if we're being fair, I think Johnson has done a nice job handling what was asked of him in the first month of the season.  He's played a pretty good third, a decent first, and he's provided the left-handed pop the Yanks were hoping for when they signed him (4 2B, 3 HR in 69 PA).  So why has he seen his playing time decrease so much in the last 2 weeks?

CC And His Battles With The One Bad Inning

(Courtesy of the AP)

CC Sabathia has made 6 starts in the month of April.  He's pitched 37 innings in those starts and given up 21 earned runs in those innings for a pretty bad 5.11 ERA.  As a whole, CC's performance has been subpar this year, but looking start by start it's been the 1 bad inning that's really killed him.

  • 4/1- 6 IP, 6 ER; 1 bad inning (btm 1st), 4 ER
  • 4/6- 6 IP, 4 ER; 1 bad inning (btm 6th), 3 ER
  • 4/11- 7 IP, 4 ER; 1 bad inning top 6th), 4 ER
  • 4/17- 7 IP, 1 ER; no bad innings
  • 4/24- 6 IP, 2 ER; 1 bad inning (btm 3rd), 2 ER
  • 4/29- 5 IP, 4 ER; 1 bad inning (top 5th), 4 ER
He's had 1 bad inning in 5 of his 6 starts and he's given up 17 of his 21 ER in those 5 innings (30.60 ERA).  In his other 32 IP, he's given up 4 ER (1.13 ERA).  On the one hand, this split shows that Sabathia's overall performance has not been as bad as his ERA would lead you to believe.  On the other, it shows how much CC is struggling to adjust to life as a finesse pitcher.  His bad innings have been defined by an inability to locate pitches down in the strike zone, an inability to put hitters away with 2 strikes, and an inability to finish off innings with 2 outs.  The Yankees need Carsten to be better with Nova and Pineda both on the shelf for the foreseeable future.  To be better, he needs to find a way to limit damage and eliminate the 1 bad inning every time out.

More On Pineda's Lat Injury

In case you missed it late last night, the diagnosis on Michael Pineda is a Grade I strain of the teres major muscle in his back.  He'll be further evaluated by Dr. Ahmad today, but the early estimate from the team was an expected 3-4 weeks out and then rehab appearances after that to build his pitch count back up.  Given how careful they were in managing his shoulder rehab, I anticipate the team will take the same approach here.  We could be looking at 6-8 weeks when all is said and done.

As for the injury itself, it's less severe than a tear of the muscle, which is considered an uncommon injury by the American Journal of Sports Medicine.  Generally, a tear of the teres major tendon takes 3 months to come back from, so a 3-4 week downtime estimate is encouraging given the potential worst case scenario.  The muscle strain is limited to the back, and has no relation to Pineda's previous shoulder injury, although a strain in that area could and usually does manifest itself in upper arm pain and it would be bad for Pineda to alter his pitching mechanics to compensate for that and risk damage to the shoulder.

This injury is definitely not a good thing.  Between the pine tar suspension and this, the Yankees are losing a key part of their rotation in a time where they can least afford to be without him.  It's not as bad as it could have been though, and Pineda will be able to return to the mound this year.

Game 26 Wrap-Up: SEA 6 NYY 3

(Courtesy of the AP)

I don't know why I expected anything different, but Yankee fans decided not to head my advice and showcased their stupidity and hypocrisy for the whole baseball world to see when they booed Robinson Cano heartily last night the first time he stepped to the plate.  The team not doing a video tribute is fine.  These are all grown men, they don't need special little videos made for them to show how great they are.  But the fans not respecting and being thankful for what Cano did in his time here is shameful and I'm a little embarrassed to be a Yankee fan this morning.  If they would have waited for the game to play out, they would have had plenty more to boo for.

Game Notes:

- Mark Teixeira showed he can still turn on a 95 MPH inside fastball on Sunday night, so Chris Young's mid-80s heat should have been no problem.  It wasn't, and Teix deposited one into the right field seats in the 2nd for his 3rd homer of the year and an early 1-0 Yankee lead.

- CC got off to a strong start, retiring the first 2 innings in order on a solid 4-pitch mix.  His fastball velocity looked a tick higher and he was throwing strike 1.

- That early success quickly dissipated over the next 2 innings though.  CC danced around 2 baserunners each in the 3rd and 4th, but he couldn't repeat the luck in the 5th.  3 straight singles loaded the bases and 2 consecutive 2-out hits resulted in 4 Seattle runs.

- The Yankee bats were mostly silent against Young after Teix's yardjob.  They scored 1 run in the 3rd, stranded 2 runners in the 4th, and only managed 3 more hits after that.  2 of them were Ichiro singles.

- Dellin Betances worked out CC's mess in the 6th, but couldn't finish off the 7th and got 2 runs charged to his ledger when Preston Claiborne couldn't pick him up.  A 4-run deficit might as well by 40 when your lineup isn't hitting and the token run in the 9th was nowhere near enough for a comeback.