The Yankees’ Late Season Skid

"The Yankees have been going through a frustrating stretch of games lately, but the team needs to pick its collective heads up and start playing better baseball soon." Photo Credit: Getty Images via Yahoo Sports

It’s hard not to notice that the Yankees have not been winning a lot of ballgames lately. The Yankees went 16-13 in the month of August, and so far have gone 10-12 in September. So since August 1st, the Yankees have gone 26-25, just one game above .500. Fortunately, it seems that they are all  but a lock for a playoff spot, whether it be by means of winning the division or by winning the wild card. Still, the Yankees don’t appear to be in great shape. Still, is there reason to worry?

I can certainly understand if you are a concerned Yankee fan, and I too am concerned, but I’m just not sure how concerned we should be. We have to keep in mind that for majority of the time the Yankees have gone 26-25, Joe Girardi has not been using the “A” team. It seems like Chad Gaudin has been called upon to come into a big spot countless times lately, and that probably will not happen in the playoffs. On the flip side, Girardi has heavily rested his better relievers like Joba Chamberlain and David Robertson, most likely in preparation for the postseason. Turning the attention away from the bullpen, the position player regulars have not been used as often as usual lately. The bottom line is, Girardi has not been throwing out the “A” team very much lately, and I’m okay with that in this case, but it means the team has not won as many games as it most likely would have under normal circumstances. Fortunately, once the playoffs begin, we should be seeing the “A” team every game, and if we don’t, there is something wrong with the head of the Yankees’ skipper.

While I do not think the Yankees recent struggles is as big a deal as it has been made out to be, I certainly don’t think it is a non-concern. It would inspire a lot of confidence if the Yankees finished up the season strong heading into the postseason.

“Hopefully Mr. Harrison is right, the sun will come up tomorrow.”

May 22-29 In Review

This past week I’ve been away from blogging because I haven’t found the time. Anyway, I wanted to take a quick look at what has happened in Yankee land lately.

May 22nd 3-5 loss to the Mets

May 23rd 4-6 loss to the Mets

May 24th Off day

May 25th Game pushed back in Minnesota to the next day

May 26th 1-0 win against the Twins in completion of suspended game; 3-2 win against the Twins

May 27th 2-8 loss to the Twins

May 28th 8-2 win versus the Indians

Notes

  • Curtis Granderson was activated yesterday after being on the DL since May 1st. He played yesterday but Girardi is trying to ease him back in so he is getting today off.
  • Randy Winn was designated for assignment to make room for Granderson on the roster. Was it the right move? I expected Kevin Russo to be sent down to AAA. I’m not saying it was a bad move, I just was surprised by it.
  • Jorge Posada is ready to begin movement exercises and could be hitting off a tee in a few days.
  • Chad Gaudin is back, and making room for him on roster is Boone Logan who was sent down to Scranton. I for one I happy to see Gaudin back with the Yankees and happy to see Logan out of the major league bullpen.

It's great to have Granderson back in center.

Yankees move onto the ALCS

2009_ALCS

As you already know, the Yankees swept the Twins in the ALDS and now are preparing to play the Angels (who swept to Red Sox in the ALDS) in the ALCS. Game 1 doesn’t start until Friday so here are a few questions you can look at and discuss until Friday comes along:

  • Are the Yankees going to use 3 or 4 starters in the ALCS? Well it looks like they are strongly leaning to going with 3 starters, which would put CC Sabathia on short rest for game 4 and a possible game 7, but it would also allow the Yankees to keep Joba and Gaudin in the bullpen. More from Sam Borden
  • Will the Yankees make any roster adjustments? Well, there hasn’t been much said about the subject but if the decision was mine to make, I think I would take Damaso Marte off the roster in favor of Brian Bruney or Freddy Guzman.
  • Will the Yankees use Joba for the 8th and Hughes for the 7th? I personally don’t understand how this has been brought up. Joba has pitched in a grand total of 2.2 innings coming out of the bullpen in all of 2009. Should he really be considered higher up in the pecking order than someone who has been there for over half a season? I don’t think so. When asked about Hughes, Girardi responded, “I’m not concerned about Hughsie.”

Game 121: Yankees at Athletics

Here’s tonight’s starting lineup via Pete Abe:

SS Derek Jeter

LF Johnny Damon

1B Mark Teixeira

3B Alex Rodriguez

DH Hideki Matsui

RF Nick Swisher

2B Robinson Cano

CF Melky Cabrera

C Jose Molina

And on the mound (making his first start as a Yankee), Chad Gaudin

Ian Kennedy progressing

As you know Ian Kennedy had surgery to remove an an aneurysm in his arm, now Kennedy is back to throwing off a mound, albeit restricted to only fastballs and change ups. Kennedy will not return to pitching in the minors this year, but he will pitch in the Instructional League and the Arizona Fall League according to the AP. Good luck to him, he could be a valuable piece of the 2010 Yankees.

You didn't forget this face, did you?

You didn't forget this face, did you?

2009 draft a success

This past Tuesday (August 18th) was the deadline for signing draft picks, and when it was all said and done the Yankees were able to sign 13 out of their top 14 picks, including the two top picks Slade Heathcott  and JR Murphy. Slade Heathcott received a 2.2 million bonus, which double the recommended amount for his slot (29th overall) by the Commissioners office, good for him. JR Murphy received a 1.25 million bonus, his slot money is about $478,000, Bud Selig can’t be happy with this. Anyway, now that Heathcott and Murphy have officially joined the Yankees, I’m sure you are wondering when they will play. Well, according to Lane Meyer Slade Heathcott is currently in the Gulf Coast League with the Yankees affiliate and he hopes to play in a game tomorrow. And according to a blog from JR Murphy’s high school will also be playing immediately in the GCL. You can learn more about Slade Heathcott here.

Johnny Damon wants to stay, Yankees to comply?

We all know that Johnny Damon ,who is a free agent after the year, wants to remain a Yankee. And according to Tyler Kepner, the Yankees are willing to resign him.

Before the season, there was a sense that the Yankees would allow Damon to move on and turn over his left-field spot to a prospect like Austin Jackson or a younger free agent like Matt Holliday. But Yankees officials seem to understand Damon’s value on the field and in the clubhouse, and now they would like him to return. When the Yankees want to keep a player and the player wants to stay, that is usually what happens.

“I don’t know where else I would want to go to,” Damon said. “Obviously, that’s not the right thing to say when you’re about ready to approach free agency, but I’m very happy with playing in New York, and my family’s happy I play for New York. There’s no bigger place to go. If you play well here, you’re going to get paid. New York has the resources.

“But we also have the chance to win every year. I don’t want to attempt to go make more money elsewhere, for more years, with a chance to be out of the race by the first of June.”

If Damon will sign a cheaper contract than the one he currently has, I think he might be the best option for the Yankees going into next year. While his defense has deteriorated, his offense and his clubhouse influence remain strong, and he would much cheaper than other options such as Matt Holliday (who I think is probably overrated), Jason Bay (who the Red Sox will want to resign), and Carl Crawford (who the Rays have an option to keep him).

Is this possible?

If you haven’t realized the type of season Joe Mauer is having, you must live under a rock. He is hitting an astonishing .383 with 25 home runs and 77 RBI’s (all this on a not so great team!). The way he is hitting right now puts him up there statistic-wise with Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, and other world class hitters. Lately there has been a lot of talk about how Mauer and Teixeira are the top two candidates for MVP, if you ask me, I don’t even think it is close. With all respect to Mark Teixeira, I think if Joe Mauer doesn’t win the MVP something is seriously wrong, who cares that he is not on a great team, what control does he have over that? Just look at these two stats…Joe Mauer’s batting average is .383 as a mentioned before, that is higher than Mark Teixeira’s OBP! That means Mauer gets a hit (not a walk or anything, just a hit) more often than Teixeira gets on base (including hits, walks, and everything)! That is just amazing. The other stat I’d like to point out is WAR (wins above replacement, basically how many wins a player was able to add to his team). Mark Teixeira’s WAR for the season is 3.8, which is very good. Joe Mauer’s WAR is 6.5! Oh, and he is a catcher, and a pretty good one. Enough said.

Look at that beautiful swing.

Look at that beautiful swing.

The real deal?

You may or may not know that the Yankees have a ambidextrous pitcher named Pat Venditte down in the minors. It is not clear whether he should be considered a real time prospect or just a novelty, but anyway here is a great video about Venditte:

Melky

Sorry Melky, I had to show this.

No comment. I'll take the high road.

No comment. I'll take the high road.

Game 116: Yankees at Mariners

Last night the Mariners fell to the hand of the Yankees Hideki Matsui and CC Sabathia. Matsui went 4-5 with 2 home runs and 5 RBI’s, and Sabathia went 8 innings allowing 1 run on 3 hits. Anyway, tonight the fun continues as the Yankees play the second game of this series at 10:10pm eastern time. Here is the starting lineup that will face Ryan Rowland-Smith:

SS Derek Jeter

LF Johnny Damon

1B Mark Teixeira

DH Hideki Matsui

C Jorge Posada

2B Robinson Cano

RF Nick Swisher

3B Jerry Hairston Jr.

CF Melky Cabrera

And on the mound, Andy Pettitte

I’m no doctor, but…

Can a person really get back spasms from being hit on the elbow with a baseball? Well supposedly that is what A-Rod has and that is why he is not playing tonight. Okay, whatever, I really don’t care if the spasms are from the hit by pitch.

Make up your mind already

Remember when the plan was to have Mitre pitch Saturday and then Gaudin on Sunday? Well, supposedly that is out. Now the Yankees plan to have Joba Chamberlain pitch on Sunday, and Gaudin start on Wednesday, with Joba’s next start not coming until August 25.

Taking the rubber game

Late yesterday afternoon, Robinson Cano hit a walk off single in the 11th to finish off a series with the Blue Jays, and to finish off the series win.

Walking Wounded

Yesterday’s game was a really tough game in which a few Yankee players got knocked up pretty bad. Jeter was hit by a pitch on his foot, and he would later leave the game, but X-Rays were negative. Jorge Posada took the luxury of trying to block 4 wild pitches, being crossed up on a fastball (he thought it was a curveball), and having a ball fouled off his bare hand. Alex Rodriguez also is part of the Walking Wounded club, he got hit by a pitch on his elbow but the ball missed his elbow pad and hit him flush. He would stay in the game, but that was only because the Yankees had no bench players left. Fortuantly, X-Rays were negative on A-Rod’s elbow.

First Impression

Chad Guadin made his Yankee debut yesterday, and it was a good one. He went 2 scoreless innings, and picked up the win. It looks like the Yankees plan to have Gaudin start on Sunday, and push Joba back a few days.

Game 111: Red Sox at Yankees

Tonight the Yankees go for the 4 game sweep against the Boston Red Sox. People in Beantown are already panicking, but if the Yankees win tonight, hell will freeze over in Boston. The Red Sox are desperate to win this game…they took early batting practice (which is unusual on a getaway day) and they conducted a closed door meeting. The Yankees will send out the following lineup in attempt to make people in Beantown cry to face Jon Lester:

SS Derek Jeter

LF Johnny Damon

1B Mark Teixeira

DH Alex Rodriguez

C Jorge Posada

RF Nick Swisher

2B Robinson Cano

CF Melky Cabrera

3B Jerry Hairston Jr.

And on the mound, Andy Pettitte

“Getting acquainted with Aroldis”

Jorge Arangure Jr. of ESPN wrote a nice piece (which includes an interesting video) about Aroldis Chapman, a Cuban defectee. You may have heard about Chapman and his triple digit fastball before, but this story gets into Chapman’s personal life, including to the decision to leave his family and newborn child behind in order to achieve his dream of becoming the best pitcher in the world. This story is a must read.

Towers DFA; Guadin up

Josh Towers in pinstripes lasted all of one day as he was DFA to make room for Chad Guadin. At least Towers knew this was coming, according to Pete Abe Towers was told that he would only be up for a day. He is supposedly eager to return to Scranton, “I’m fine with it,” he said. “I’m just glad they thought enough of me to bring me here today.”

Just to keep you entertained for 30 seconds

Konerko seems rather apathetic doesn’t he?

Game 109: Red Sox at Yankees

Last night the Yankees picked up their first win of the season against the Boston Red Sox, tonight they go for their second and they will send out the following lineup via Pete Abe:

SS Derek Jeter

LF Johnny Damon

1B Mark Teixeira

3B Alex Rodriguez

DH Hideki Matsui

C Jorge Posada

2B Robinson Cano

RF Nick Swisher

CF Melky Cabrera

And on the mound, Allan James Burnett


Welcome back Ramiro, but why didn’t you bring Francisco with you?

Ramiro Pena has been recalled, and Anthony Claggett was optioned down to Scranton. It’s going to be nice to see Ramiro back, and Pena has been working on playing the outfield so he is now more versatile, but I can’t help but wonder do the Yankees really need him now that they have Hairston?

The Yankees acquire Chad Guadin

You probably already know this but just in case…The Yankees acquired Chad Gaudin from the San Diego Padres last night in exchange for a PTBNL. Gaudin will join the team on Sunday, and at that point a reliever is likely to be sent down. Supposedly the most likely candidates are David Robertson and Mark Melancon, who have both been pitching very well lately. If the Yankees are going to send one of the two aforementioned relievers down, my guess is that Melancon rides the shuttle to Scranton. But why are they the only candidates, what about Brian Bruney (or maybe they DL Bruney if he still isn’t “right”) or Ramiro Pena who as I mentioned above doesn’t seem to really be necessary. We will have to wait and see.

Clutchy McClutchbrera (hat tip to River Ave Blues for the name)

Just a little stat to throw at you to show how clutch Melky Cabrera is…in his career he is batting .311 in situations defined as “late and close” (the seventh inning or later with the batting team ahead by one, tied, or has the tying run on base, at bat or on deck) and in his career against the Red Sox he is batting .321 with 27 RBI’s.

Smoltz DFA’d

Earlier today the Red Sox DFA John Smoltz. To me it looks like his career might just be over, and he went out the hard way. Just think, John Smoltz last game was against the Yankees in the new Yankee Stadium and he got crushed. Now, who knows maybe somebody picks him up and he turns it around, he did put all this work into coming back from surgery so why stop now. But, by the sound of his post game interview, he sounds like someone who might be done. By the way, the Red Sox also DFA Billy Traber, they called up Junichi Tazawa, and they got Chris Woodward from Seattle to play short.