Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Tuesday Evening News And Notes

- Michael Pineda did throw his 2-inning ExST start today as planned.  He threw 28 pitches, 20 for strikes.  No report on his velocity, not that it matters, but he did strike out 4 and walk 1.

- No Teix in the lineup again tonight.  He told reporters he wanted to play tomorrow in the series finale against St. Louis but was going to wait until he saw how his wrist felt.  He'll have the team doctors take a precautionary look at it when the team gets back to New York on Thursday.

- The latest All Star Game voting numbers came in today.  To no one's surprise, Derek Jeter is the leader for the AL at shortstop.  He's 3rd overall behind Mike Trout and Jose Bautista.

- Via Jack Curry, Elias has confirmed that Dellin Betances is the first rookie reliever in history to have 50+ strikeouts in his team's first 50 games of the season.  I guess that's pretty good.

Joe Needs To Keep Lengthening The Leash On His Young Starters

(Courtesy of Getty Images)

(Originally posted at IIATMS/TYA)

A funny thing happened this last turn through the rotation.  Joe showed a little more faith in his trio of young replacement starters, allowing all of them to work deeper into the game than they have since taking spots in the rotation, and the world didn't collapse in on itself.  In fact, the Yankees won 2 of the 3 games pitched by David Phelps, Vidal Nuno, and Chase Whitley, and may have snuck out a win in the other game if Joe had put a competitive lineup on the field.

The Yankees have had a ton of problems in their rotation already this year, almost all of them due to injury.  The latest issue has been not getting enough length from the starters and it was an issue partially perpetuated by Joe and his quick hook with these 3.  He knows who his bullpen aces are and he's leaned heavily on them to carry the burden of holding leads rather than leave it in the hands of pitchers in which he doesn't have as much confidence.  This apparent change in philosophy over the last 5 days is something that needs to continue if the Yanks are going to stay afloat into the summer.

Bottom Of The Order Coming Up Big Lately

(I'm actually going to say something positive about Ichiro.  Believe it.  Courtesy of Getty Images)

Consistent offensive production continues to be a big problem for the Yankees as May winds down.  Carlos Beltran is on the DL, Teix may or may not have to join him because of his wrist stiffness, and Brian McCann and Alfonso Soriano have been unable to find their footing to carry the middle of the order.  Despite all of this, the Yankees have won 4 of their last 6 games and 8 of their last 12 over the last 2 weeks.  It's been the bottom of the order and the rotating cast of characters inhabiting it that have had a lot to do with that.

Teix Wrist Update: Might Need More Than A Day

I wouldn't say it was necessarily pessimistic, but Mark Teixeira's self-evaluation of his stiff right wrist yesterday wasn't nearly as optimistic as Joe's was earlier in the day.  Teix spoke about it after the game, and via Chad Jennings' report, he said he thought it was best to use more than just yesterday to rest it:

“It’s just inflammation, we think.  It’s probably time to take a day or two off to let it calm down anyway.”

Teix said this current stiffness is the worst he's felt all year and it's been bothering him whether he swings righty or lefty.  He didn't swing at all yesterday and he probably won't today.  There are no further tests scheduled, but it does come off a bit odd that everybody keeps talking about the stiffness in terms of what they "think" it is.  If there's uncertainty, why not get a follow-up MRI to verify?

Obviously this isn't good news for the Yankee lineup.  Teix has been the most consistent power presence in it since coming off the DL.  But the first year after surgery is always a bumpy road like this and given the history of guys who've had the same surgery, it's much better to take the safe route here.  Give Teix a few days of no swinging and see how it responds.  They've got a new backup first baseman in Brendan Ryan anyway.  I'm sure he can replicate Teix's production for a few games.