Looking more and more like an 87-win team, everyday.
On March 19th, I wrote:
Over His Last 889 MLB PA, Brian McCann Hit .242
And, his OPS+ was 99.
Lastly, in the second half of 2013, his BA/OBP/SLG line was .220/.296/.384 (in 196 PA).
Hey, it’s always possible that the Braves let him walk for a reason…
Well, in his first 94 PA this season, McCann’s BA/OBA/SLG line is .225/.266/.348 – which is an OPS+ of 70.
How many more MLB PA do we need to tack on to this run before it’s time to raise the white flag and say this guy cannot hit anymore? Or, are his last near 1,000 MLB plate appearances not evidence enough?
And, yes, Yankees GM Brian Cashman signed McCann to a $85 million, five-year, contract.
So…get ready for the Cashman apologists to fire up the ol’ “It seemed like a good idea at the time” excuse machine (aka “Brian Cashman, He did Meanwell”).
Seriously, did the Yankees even look at the numbers before signing this guy? And, how many more PA have to flow under the bridge before the Yankees realize that the “bust” flood is happening?
The Yankees are 5-6 in their last 11 games. During this span, their pitchers had an ERA of 5.27 and their batters posted an OPS of .643 – and, for the record, those are bad numbers.
Next, the Yankees play the Rays for three games – which is never easy. After that, they have an insane road trip where they play the Angels and the Brewers. This is followed by four games against the Mets.
Overall, sans maybe three players, the Yankees are not hitting:
And, outside of Tanaka, their starting pitching is a mess:
Yes, the Yankees are in first place. But, is that soon about to change?
Are they the best teams in baseball right now?
Via Joel Sherman -
There have been many times in the five-plus-year history of this version of Yankee Stadium when the stands have been full, the games have been important and the noise and enthusiasm have been lacking.
Many reasons have been cited for how the Stadium got unplugged. Poor acoustics. Rich folks unlikely to deliver much noise being the only ones who could afford seats close to the field. Too many indoor hiding places.
But finally something was unearthed that could stir a full-volume response from a even a quarter-filled stadium — that terrible, evil devil Robinson Cano.
You know he had committed the unpardonable sin of being the Yankees’ best player (by far) for about the past half decade, never was involved in off-field trouble and was well-regarded by his teammates. That horrible, horrible man. I really can’t separate who is the bigger public nuisance, Cano or Donald Sterling.
On a rainy, raw Tuesday night, the reception for Cano was chillier than the weather. He was booed incessantly, relentlessly and virulently from his pregame announcement through each at-bat. The Bleacher Creatures must have forgotten no team in major league history has spent more to import players from elsewhere as the Yankees have when they chanted “YOU SOLD OUT” at Cano.
The 10,000 or so folks who endured the bad weather sounded like four or five times that much with their animus drowning out the few who were trying to offer applause and thanks for the memories. It was as loud as the Stadium has been all year, louder than some playoff games of the recent past.
A few notes here:
1. This is a unique situation for Yankees fans. When was the last time that a “star” player in his “prime” left the Yankees to go sign with another team? Even further, when was the last time it was an everyday position player? Simple truth, here, is that Yankees fans are not used to having someone walk away on them. So, how are they supposed to know how to act in these situations?
2. The Yankees threw some gasoline on this one. No one was there at the game. And, they threw the field mics up to full throttle. When the M’s manager came out to argue with the third base ump late in the game, you could hear every word out of their mouth – until someone starting cursing and then YES lowered the volume on the feed. If YES had their field mic on normal levels, you wouldn’t have heard the Cano reaction in quite the same way.
3. Related to the above, the Stadium was empty last night. The only ones willing to sit out in the cold – and the rain – were probably consuming some adult beverages to offset their better judgement. To say that’s representative of Yankees fan, and how they feel about Cano, is ignoring the rules around sample size.
I think the “Welcome Home Robbie” reaction would have been a little different if the M’s first game in New York this year had been on Old-Timers Day or Bat Day. And, what happened last night was sort of the perfect storm, and things just lining up, for him to get the Bronx Cheer…and for it to be heard, thanks to YES.
Like I said back in August of 2012: “Pineda” Really Is Spanish For “Pavano.”
If Harper keeps getting hurt, it’s going to be hard to start telling these two apart.
Via the Journal Sentinel –
In his book “Throwback: A Big-League Catcher Tells How the Game is Really Played,” Jason Kendall provides an insider’s view of baseball on the major-league level.
Kendall spent two of his 15 seasons in the majors with the Brewers (2008-’09).
In the course of explaining in detail various aspects of the game, Kendall mentions a few of his Brewers teammates.
In a section about outfield signs, Kendall says outfielder Mike Cameron wanted to get pitch signals from the catcher, not an infielder, so the two worked up a sign system.
“I’d signal him from home plate when a slider was on its way,” Kendall writes.
“In my opinion, guys like Mike Cameron made playing the outfield a work of art,” Kendall says. “He’d have two steps in the right direction before the ball was even hit. Same thing with Brian Giles or Mark Kotsay: they’d make catches that were only possible because of the jumps they got on the ball.”
When discussing a pitcher’s defensive responsibilities, Kendall mentions CC Sabathia, a battery mate in 2008.
A pitcher has to cover first on balls hit to the right side of the infield.
“If the pitcher waits to see if he’s needed, he’ll be late covering the bag,” Kendall writes. “The catcher yells, ‘Get over!’ to remind the pitcher to quit daydreaming and cover first. CC Sabathia asked me to remind him to get over. CC’s the greatest guy in the world – one of the best pitchers ever – but I’ve got too much on my plate to have to remind him to get over to first base. Most catchers do it, but here’s my theory: You’re in the big leagues – you need someone to tell you to do you job?”
Kendall cites Greg Maddux as a pitcher who was special because even after giving full effort and attention to a pitch, he did not forget to perform all of his defensive tasks.
Reading this, it does seem that Sabathia is slow to cover sometimes, no?
Of course, the evil person in me had the words “Luis Polonia” first come to mind after the nice person in me thought it was a touching moment. I know, I know…please excuse me. Just having a bad day…
Which one will be the A.L. Rookie of the Year this season?
Of course, rain would make this one very tough to pull off…
Funnier than Sonny and Cher in fat suits…
Via Bill Madden –
This is one sticky wicket Michael Pineda has created for himself and baseball.
The now-certified dumbest player on the planet insisted after being ejected from Wednesday night’s Yankee-Red Sox game at Fenway Park that the huge smudge of pine tar on his neck was there for no other reason but to help him get a better grip on the ball in the cold weather so he wouldn’t maim any of the Boston batters with errant pitches. It was his story and he was . . . er . . . sticking to it, but Gaylord Perry, the most notorious “foreign substance” practitioner of them all, says he’s full of it.
“Of course pine tar is a performance-enhancing substance,” Perry said by phone from his home in North Carolina when I asked him if its only value to a pitcher was just to get a better grip of the slick baseballs when the temperatures drop into the 40s. “Why do you think so many pitchers are using it? It absolutely helps your sinkers to sink better and breaking pitches to break better.”
To that, Dwight Gooden wholeheartedly agreed in a tweet Thursday: “Lets put to rest all this talk about pine tar to get a better grip on the ball to protect the hitters! Pine tar is used 2 make ur breaking pitches sharper and help ur sinker 4 more movement. You can blow in your hand for a better grip when it’s cold. Enough already!”
According to Perry, when it comes to getting a better grip on the baseball in colder conditions, the old-fashioned rosin bag is perfectly sufficient. “It was for me,” he said. “People don’t realize it but the rosin is nothing more than dried pine tar. You can shake that thing up, even spit a little in your hands when you’re off the rubber, rub ’em together and then use the rosin bag. That’s what I’d do and I never had a problem with gripping the ball.”
“Gaylord’s right about pine tar being a performance-enhancing substance,” said Hall-of-Fame-bound former Cardinals, A’s and White Sox manager Tony La Russa by phone from his home in California. “At the same time, it does help the pitchers grip the ball better in cold weather, and the hitters appreciate the fact the pitcher can control his pitches. But there’s a gray area and it’s very small. Nobody has a problem if a pitcher has a small dip on his finger to help him better control the slick balls in the cold weather. But when you’ve got a swath of it somewhere, on your hands, your glove or somewhere else on your body, then you’re crossing the line in that gray area and your intention is clearly to cheat.”
On the bright side, I have a big fat gold chain, a Yankees cap to wear crooked, and some pine tar to slap on my neck. Yes, I have my Halloween costume good to go with six months to spare!
You can’t ask for a better start, can you? Third best record in their league. Only 4 teams in baseball have more wins.
Personally, I am amazed. And, I am not 100% sure how they are doing it.
In any event, there are three roads from here:
- Continue at this pace and win 90+ games this season.
- Do even better and win closer to 100 games when it’s all done.
- Regress and win less than 90 games, overall, despite the good start.
Which way to you think this team will go?
Love the fact that his BB/K ratio is 2/35 (in 29.3 IP).
But, two things: 4 homers allowed in 4 starts. That’s not a great pace for someone whose supposed to be a stud and who has the advantage of hitters seeing him for the first time. And, he’s only pitched on 4 days rest once. His last two starts have come on five and six days rest. What’s going to happen when he has to go out there every fifth day, consistently? The one time this season he pitched on 4 days rest was when he allowed the most earned runs (for him, so far) in a game.
I’m just saying…
We’ll see if any of this means something as the season moves forward.
I was watching (no pun intended) Brian McCann hit last night in Fenway. (On TV, I was not there.)
I was tired and my eyes were a little blurry. (Nothing new on either of those fronts.)
And, for a second or two, I thought it was Jason Giambi. The body language in the box, the stance, and the swing, all reminded me of Giambi (as a Yankee). Anyone else ever see this?
I always remember Paul O’Neill saying something along the lines of “If you’re going to play for the Yankees, at some point you’re going to have to play well against the Red Sox.” Or, maybe he said “…beat the Red Sox.”
It starts now for Mr. Tanaka.
Will they jump on the fastball, early, to take away the splitter/forkball? If they do, will the Yankees adjust?
Should be fun to watch.
Facts are facts, after all.
Winning six of their last seven, of course, has helped offset a 4-5 start.
Can Yangervis Solarte, Carlos Beltran, Jacoby Ellsbury, Michael Pineda, Masahiro Tanaka and Shawn Kelley keep up their great pace? Can Ivan Nova, CC Sabathia, Brian Roberts and Brian McCann pick up their pace? Will Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira and David Robertson not break down?
You tell me.
Some interesting stats via Captain America -
Since 1977 there have been 372 documented TJ surgeries in MLB… 345 (93%) have been performed on American players while 27 (7%) have involved international players… Since 2010 there has been 124 TJ surgeries and an astonishing 83 in the last 2 years!
How do the numbers stack up proportion wise based on the MLB player constituency? Not even close. It fluctuates daily but over the past few years when the vast majority of TJ surgeries have occurred, MLB has been comprised of roughly 60% American players and 40% International…
I still think there’s something missing here in terms of the stats. But, assuming that it’s correct that Americans are more likely to blow out their UCL in the majors, there’s got to be a reason, right?
…so far. But, then again, it’s only April 17th.
And, it’s only been 3 starts each, for them, to date this season. And, the Yankees have only played 15 games this season.
Remember Carl Pavano in 2005 and A.J. Burnett in 2010? This is how they did in the Yankees first 15 games in those seasons.
|1||Andy Pettitte||2007||4||Ind. Games||1||0||1.93||4||23.1||5||1||7||12|
|2||Carl Pavano||2005||4||Ind. Games||1||2||2.86||4||22.0||7||3||3||14|
|3||Mike Mussina||2006||4||Ind. Games||2||1||2.67||4||27.0||8||2||6||23|
|4||Chien-Ming Wang||2008||3||Ind. Games||3||0||1.23||3||22.0||3||1||4||11|
|5||Masahiro Tanaka||2014||3||Ind. Games||2||0||2.05||3||22.0||5||2||2||28|
|6||CC Sabathia||2013||3||Ind. Games||3||0||1.57||3||23.0||4||1||4||19|
|7||CC Sabathia||2010||3||Ind. Games||2||1||1.66||3||21.2||4||1||8||19|
|8||CC Sabathia||2011||3||Ind. Games||0||1||1.45||3||18.2||3||0||7||17|
|9||Michael Pineda||2014||3||Ind. Games||2||1||1.00||3||18.0||2||1||3||15|
|10||Andy Pettitte||2010||3||Ind. Games||2||0||1.35||3||20.0||3||0||9||14|
|11||Andy Pettitte||2009||3||Ind. Games||2||0||2.53||3||21.1||6||1||2||10|
|12||Andy Pettitte||2013||3||Ind. Games||3||0||2.01||3||22.1||5||2||5||12|
|13||Andy Pettitte||2008||3||Ind. Games||2||1||3.38||3||18.2||7||1||7||9|
|14||Hiroki Kuroda||2013||3||Ind. Games||2||1||2.87||3||15.2||5||0||5||12|
|15||Randy Johnson||2006||3||Ind. Games||2||1||2.25||3||20.0||5||1||0||16|
|16||A.J. Burnett||2010||3||Ind. Games||2||0||2.37||3||19.0||5||1||6||13|
|17||A.J. Burnett||2009||3||Ind. Games||2||0||3.20||3||19.2||7||3||9||17|
|18||A.J. Burnett||2011||3||Ind. Games||2||0||3.86||3||16.1||7||2||8||17|
|19||Kevin Brown||2004||3||Ind. Games||3||0||1.29||3||21.0||3||0||4||14|
Via FOX Sports -
For the third time in as many starts, one inning doomed Phil Hughes.
In his season debut, it was the fifth inning. Last week against Oakland, it was the first inning. Thursday, the sixth inning got the best of Hughes.
The new Minnesota Twins right-hander cruised through five scoreless innings Tuesday against Toronto before it all came crashing down in a five-run sixth frame. Four of those runs were charged to Hughes as he was on the hook for the loss in the Twins’ 9-3 defeat.
“So far, three starts, three bad innings,” Hughes said after the loss.
After needing 74 pitches to get through five scoreless innings, Hughes simply couldn’t get anyone out in the sixth despite holding a 2-0 lead. He surrendered a leadoff double down the left-field line to Munenori Kawasaki, and followed that up with an RBI single by Jose Bautista for Toronto’s first run of the game.
Adam Lind followed Bautista with a single to center to send Bautista to third. Edwin Encarnacion recorded the Blue Jays’ fourth consecutive hit to open the inning as he singled off Hughes to drive in Bautista and tie the game at 2.
“It looked like the ball was still coming out of his hand, but he sure wasn’t making any pitches,” said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire. “They hit I don’t know how many balls in a row right on the screws. He was cruising before that.”
…assuming his quad is not that bad…while Tex is out?
Or, maybe Soriano should play first?