Friday, June 13, 2014

Friday Afternoon Linkapalooza: 6/13/14

I can't explain why, but I'm feeling very good about the Rangers' chances tonight.  I'm almost irrationally confident in them and it's a little scary.  Most people felt that if they played a whole 60 minutes like the played the opening periods of Games 1 and 2, they would have won.  It's now Game 5 and they've still yet to accomplish that feat.  The 3rd period the other night was hide-your-eyes scary to watch, so maybe tonight is the night that they put 3 whole periods together and bring the series back to The Garden for a final time in the 2013-2014 season.  Win tonight and they have a real chance again.  1 shift at a time, 1 period at a time, 1 game at a game.  Now onto the links!

- On Monday, Mike Axisa offered up some simple lineup change suggestions to help ignite the unproductive lineup.  So far, the Yankees haven't implemented any of them.

- SJK of NoMaas had a few roster shakeup ideas of his own.

- On Tuesday, William Juliano of The Captain's showed how the Yankees' good luck has been hiding the truth of their weak performance over the first 62 games.

- On Wednesday, Katie Sharp of IIATMS/TYA identified all the unseen value coming from Brian McCann this season thanks to his elite-level defensive metrics.  Guy has been an absolute stud behind the plate.

- El duque of It Is High... noticed a somewhat unsettling trend in the Yankee organization.  W-L record isn't a huge deal in the Minors, but that top-to-bottom breakdown can't make you feel good, can it?

- On Thursday, Michael Brown of Pinstripe Alley examined the Yankees' offensive performance in the clutch.  Whether you believe in the idea or not, we can all agree that ranking in the lower half of MLB in that category is not good.

- Delia Enriquez of Bronx Basebally Daily commented on Masahiro Tanaka's competitiveness and desire for perfection and how it makes him a better pitcher.

- On Friday, Chad Jennings of LoHud got some collective thoughts on Chase Whitley's start to his Major League starting career, from guys like Joe, Jeter, and Whitley himself.

- Chris Mitchell of Pinstripe Pundits used the newest scouting report on Ian Clarkin to search for accurate pitcher comparisons.

It's been all rock so far this year, so let's change it up with a little hip-hop this week and an underrated classic from Blackstar, "Redefinition".  Most people know and prefer "Definition", but this song is just as tight and deserves some recognition.  Too bad Mos Def went all religious psycho and got on the outs with the US government.  A Blackstar reunion would be sweet.

Enjoy your weekends, everybody.

Whitley Mixes It Up Against Lefties

(Courtesy of the AP)

(Originally published at IIATMS/TYA)

When I was giving props to Chase Whitley earlier in the week, I made reference to the 2 approaches he's featured against right and left-handed hitters.  His changeup had been his biggest weapon against lefties and he was setting it up well with his 4-seam fastball.  Seattle stacked their lineup with lefty hitters for last night's series finale, putting them in the top 4 spots in the batting order as well as 6th, 7th, and 9th.  In response, Whitley mixed up his routine a little to counter them and keep them at bay.

D-Rob Striking Out Everybody And Their Mothers

David Robertson gave up 5 ER in 0.2 innings on June 1st, blowing a save against the Twins in spectacular fashion.  Everybody threw up their hands, cried to the heavens, and called for him to be ousted as closer so that Dellin Betances, the new Mariano Rivera, could be ushered into his rightful spot on the throne.

Funny thing, D-Rob has picked up right where he left off before that bad outing.  You know, when he was dominating the American League with his curveball and striking out anything with a pulse and a bat in its hand.  He's made 5 appearances since the last blown save, converted 4 straight save opportunities, and has given up no runs, 2 hits, and 2 walks in 4.2 IP over that stretch while striking out 9 of the 18 batters he's faced.

That gives D-Rob 41 Ks in 22.2 IP for the season, a cool 43.6% K rate that's nipping at the heels of the almighty Betances.  Since the start of May, he's struck out 36 of the 72 total batters he's faced, a perfectly even 50.0% K rate.  The lesson, as always, is don't worry about D-Rob.

Game 65 Wrap-Up: NYY 6 SEA 3

(Courtesy of the AP)

Well how do you like them apples?  I wasn't expecting more than 1 win in this series, if I'm being honest.  The Yankees have been absolutely brutal to watch for the last 2-3 weeks and the Mariners were playing pretty good ball.  But behind another outstanding start from Chase Whitley and another encouraging offensive performance, they pulled off the road sweep.

Game Notes:

- Didn't want long to score again last night.  Derek Jeter singled to right in the top of the 1st and 4 pitches later the scorching hot Jacoby Ellsbury laced a 2-run homer into the right field seats to put the Yanks up early.

- Whitley gave 1 back in the bottom of the 2nd when he hung a first-pitch slider to Logan Morrison.  There's his first MLB home run allowed, exactly as I predicted.

- His offense got him that run back and then some in the 3rd on an Alfonso Soriano 2-run double, then tacked another on in the 4th on a leadoff walk, a base hit, a sac bunt, and an RBI single by Jeter.  Where did this offensive flexibility come from?

- Whitley did give up 1 more run, but set a new career best by working into the 8th and leaving with 2 outs so Matt Thornton could face Robinson Cano.  Of course Thornton walked him, but he recovered to get Kyle Seager out.

- Thornton handed over to Shawn Kelley for the 9th.  In his first appearance since coming off the DL, Kelley gave up back-to-back 1-out doubles for the third Seattle run, forcing Joe to use D-Rob for the save.