Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Tuesday Evening Injury News Roundup

Another day, another batch of injury updates.  This blows.

- Ichiro Suzuki will most likely not be available tonight.  Hasn't quite recovered from his tumble in Milwaukee.

- Mark Teixeira is back in the lineup tonight with his tired legs.  This is the only good news.

- The MRI on Carlos Beltran's hyperextended right elbow revealed a bone spur.  He took a cortisone shot and is going to wait a few days to see if that helps.  If it doesn't, surgery to remove the spur is the next option.

- Shawn Kelley's back still isn't better and he was placed on the disabled list with a "strained lumbar spine" retroactive to last week.  Sounds fun.  Zoilo Almonte was called up to replace him on the active roster.

Yangervis Solarte Should Probably Be Batting Second

(Courtesy of the AP)

If you had Yangervis Solarte as your pick for the player who would be leading all qualified Yankees in batting average, OPS, wOBA, and RBI on May 13th, then congratulations.  You're a smarter person than I.  Even after cooling off from his smoking hot initial start, Solarte has maintained a level of consistent aboave-average production over the last month that nobody else on the team can match.  He's got a hit in each of the last 7 games (multiple hits in 4 of those 7), 11 of the last 13, and he's either scored or driven in a run in 6 of the last 7.

This latest stretch of good hitting has come at a time when the Yankees aren't getting much from the middle of their lineup, and in that respect Solarte has been a quiet lifesaver.  In looking at his overall performance and the spot from which he's producing, however, the question needs to be asked as to whether it's time to move Solarte up in the batting order.  His strongly balanced .330/.405/.473 slash line and the way he's gone about achieving it could probably be put to best use in the 2-spot.

Matt Thornton: Ineffective Or Unlucky?

(Courtesy of Getty Images)

(Originally published at IIATMS/TYA)

There have been plenty of problems in the Yankee bullpen in the first 6 weeks.  One that isn't getting a lot of attention is the performance of Matt Thornton.  Brought in as the lone free agent reliever to replace Boone Logan, Thornton didn't inspire confidence that he had a lot left with his ST effort (7 H, 3 ER, 2 K in 4.0 IP), and so far in the regular season he's been pretty meh.  In 6.2 innings pitched spread over 16 appearances, Thornton owns a 5.40/3.85/5.02 tripleslash with only 5 strikeouts and 3 walks.  He's been perfectly mediocre despite mostly being used correctly in short outings by Joe, but has it really been all his fault?

D-Rob: The Best Reliever Who Never Pitches

David Robertson was activated from the DL on April 22nd.  He pitched in his first game since going on the DL on April 24th, the first of 3 games he pitched in 4 days before the off-day on April 28th.

Since then, D-Rob has appeared in 3 games.  3 games in the last 15 days.  Prior to his appearance against the Brewers on Friday, he pitched only once in a week.  Joe had chances to use him when it made sense in the 9th inning on Sunday and in the 8th inning last night and he chose not to do so.  He explained last night's decision by saying he was planning on using D-Rob for 4 outs if Matt Thornton had been able to retire Lucas Duda.

I get not wanting to overuse a guy when he's coming back from a leg injury and I certainly don't want Joe to burn D-Rob out in May, but to use D-Rob as little as he's been used since he was activated is crazy.  If he's available to get 4 outs, he should be available to get 5 and he should have been in the game after Thornton couldn't retire the righty last night.  Giving up runs and losing games late because you don't use your best relief pitcher is unacceptable, especially when he's as well rested as D-Rob is.

Game 37 Wrap-Up: NYM 9 NYY 7

(Courtesy of Getty Images)

Where do you even start with this one?  Blown leads early, blown leads late, more guys hurt.  The list of Yankee problems is growing exponentially and a Subway Series-opening loss to the Mets at home last night added fuel to the dumpster fire.

Game Notes:

- The first blown lead came after Brett Gardner tagged a grand slam in the bottom of the 2nd to give the Yanks a 4-1 lead.  People had been calling for him to be more aggressive earlier in the count and he did that here, smoking a first-pitch fastball down the middle.

- Yankee starter Hiroki Kuroda made the lead hold up through 4, but he wasn't as sharp as he was his last time out and gave up some hard contact.  A Travis D'Arnaud home run in the 5th was the hardest.

- That is until Curtis Granderson came up with 1 on and nobody out in the top of the 6th.  C-Grand has seen enough of Hirok to know when he's got something good to hit, and he made Kuroda pay for leaving a 3-0 sinker up by hitting it out and tying the game at 4.

- As they've done a lot lately, the offense responded quickly.  A double by Alfonso Soriano, RBI single by Yangervis Solarte, RBI triple by Kelly Johnson, and a throwing error on a steal attempt added up to 3 runs in the bottom half of the 6th.

- Then the second giveaway came.  Joe was short in the 'pen again and nobody he went to could get the job done.  Aceves gave up a HR in the 7th, Thornton a few more hits and runs in the 8th, and Claiborne the deciding runs on a Chis Young 2-run blast, the Mets' 4th homer of the night.