Thursday, August 17, 2017

... and I didn't get past the first sentence.

"They're the St. Louis Cardinals, as big a name as we have in sports" 

They are?

Curt Schilling says he still supports Donald Trump.

Because, baseball.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Try again next year.

Maybe Chapman is just having a bad year, maybe he's just tired from overuse in last year's playoffs, maybe he hasn't fully recovered from his injury.

Girardi is being foolish and contradicting his own willingness to bench prominent players.

For example, let's use one example to slag on Ellsbury again:

"The Yankees are in the midst of a fight to stay in the American League East race. They also want to hold on to the Wild Card. The Yankees couldn’t afford to keep playing Jacoby Ellsbury when Clint Frazier came up. They can’t continue to be unsure what they’re going to get from their closer every night."

Ellsbury has won a couple of games recently with big hits. Not that he's making a run for the AL MVP or anything. But the narrative is bogus ... the Yankees "couldn't afford" to play Ellsbury instead of a rookie with a .274 on-base%.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Funny thing is, Romine's defense hasn't been too good either ...

It's good that the Yankees are trying to nip this in the bud.

"Girardi said that Sanchez was told point blank that his defense must improve after he permitted his Major League-leading 12th passed ball in Friday's 7-2 loss to Cleveland. The manager said that Sanchez is 'physically fine,' but his issues blocking balls prompted backup Austin Romine to catch Sunday's day game following a night game.
 ...

 Part of the issue may be that Sanchez has gained some weight, with general manager Brian Cashman telling the New York Post that Sanchez had put on eight-to-12 pounds of muscle over the offseason while keeping his body-fat percentage the same. That may be limiting his flexibility, with Cashman saying it was a matter of 'good intentions and bad results.' "


Sunday, July 30, 2017

The Yankees sure are streaky this year.

"You know who nobody wants to play in the first round of the playoffs? The Yankees, with or without Sonny Gray."

The White Sox would sign up right now for that matchup.


"This year’s Yankees now have as much bullpen as the Indians did when they made it all the way to Game 7 of the World Series last year, and you may have noticed they have more stick."

All the way to Game 7!


"It seems these Yankees are hardly ever out of a game. By now it’s clear there is some magic to them, especially when they’re down, even when they go more than a month of baseball without winning a single series."

A lot of clutchiness for a team that is 11-19 in one-run games.
 

"The Yankees come from behind. A lot. The Yankees tie games in the ninth inning or later or win them. They get down 9-1 to the Orioles in April and come back and ring up 14 runs of their own and win the game. They are down to the Cubs at Wrigley in the 9th and Brett Gardner hits a home run and they come back again and beat the Cubs this time. They are down to the Red Sox at Fenway after Chris Sale has pitched like as much of an ace as there is in baseball, but then Matt Holliday hits one off Craig Kimbrel in the 9th and the Yankees finally win in 16.

Clint Frazier hits a walk-off home run to win a game against the Brewers three weeks ago. The Yankees are down 5-3 to the Rays on Thursday night at Yankee Stadium and get it to 5-4 in the bottom of the 8th and then Gary Sanchez sneaks a ball through a shift and they tie it with two outs in the bottom of the 9th and then Gardner goes deep again and they win again."

Great wins. They've also lost a lot of games they "shoulda won."


"We talk all the time about starting pitching. Guess what?"

I give up. What?


"After Sale, you tell me which starting pitcher scares you for the Boston Red Sox? Rick Porcello? Take a look at his record. He’s 4-14 and has pitched like a scrub this season."

Oh. I thought you were going to say, "Chicken Butt."


"Do the Yankees need another starter? You bet."

You bet!


"After 21-9 they went 27-36, you bet."

You better, you better, you bet.


"The rest of the division had six weeks to put them away. Didn’t. Or couldn’t. Look out for the Yankees the rest of the way."

Sounds like a jinx, but I can't slag on a team that's in first place and on a winning streak.

Also, the Yankees are currently one half game up on Boston. After reading this article, you'd think they were 15 games up and playing .700 ball for the season.


After praising the Yankees on their roller coaster trip through the 2017 season, I'd just like to highlight a gratuitous, out-of-nowhere slag of Lucas Duda:
 
"Two things on Lucas Duda:

One, he was a terrific pickup for Tampa Bay.

Two?

So far, anyway, I’m not missing him nearly as much as I thought I would."

 Maybe I'm missing an anti-Duda subtext ... or a joke?

"So far" is, like, three whole games.

But what's up with the unnecessary rip on Lucas Duda, of all people?





Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Sold!

I will be the first in line for tickets to Clint Frazier Bobblehead Day.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Clint Frazier growing pains.

The author lists 4 options -- DFA, trade, release, and demote -- and assigns a probability of 0% to all 4.

That leads us to option #5:

"5. KEEP

As one baseball insider put it Monday, 'Ellsbury is not a bad backup option to come off the bench or if the Yankees suffer another injury to an outfielder.' Hicks (oblique) will reportedly come off the DL in two to three weeks, but if that schedule changes, Ellsbury is still an above-average player to have on the bench.

The Yankees’ best option appears to be the status quo one — as long as they are paying Ellsbury the big bucks, they are best served having him available to play when the need arises."

It really requires a baseball insider to acknowledge that Jacoby Ellsbury is a worthwhile baseball player? Even as a backup?

Clint Frazier has been pretty good. A red-headed flash who has a lot of extra base hits. He also has one whole walk and an on-base% slightly better than Chris Carter's. Along with 18 strikeouts, but, whatever.

I am genuinely willing to turn over the team to the youngsters. But I also know what's going to happen in the next 70 games. Frazier is going to slump, he's going to make a couple of bad throws at inopportune times, and he's going to get thrown out at third base with two outs in the ninth inning of a tie game.

His current .295 batting average may be a 2017 peak and, like I mentioned, a .300 on-base% sounds like a #9 hitter and not the next "Mike Trout" (remember that?).

So give the kid a chance. He may learn something that pays off down the road. Or maybe he's, like, the second coming of Fred Lynn, ready to dominate out of the gate and lead his team to the World Series.

I just think that Yankee fans (and players and coaches) are star struck once again. They don't like Ellsbury and Ellsbury has not lived up to his contract. I still think the piling on is kinda dumb ... he isn't that bad.


Sunday, July 23, 2017

Another partial defense of Ellsbury.

"Ellsbury used to be younger, more athletic, more dynamic. That’s how he got paid $153 million over seven years in the first place. Plus, there was that whole Robinson Cano ordeal …

But the 33-year-old veteran is no longer that player — now the fifth-best outfielder in the organization behind Aaron Judge, Aaron Hicks, Brett Gardner and Frazier. He just happens to make way more money than the other four players combined.

And that’s a problem for the Yankees, who would be best-served cutting Ellsbury loose when Hicks returns from his oblique injury in 2-to-3 weeks. Only it doesn’t work that way. Brian Cashman has said that when Hicks comes back, Frazier will likely be sent down because he has minor-league options."


Contract aside, I wouldn't state definitively that Ellsbury is worse than Hicks, Frazier, or even Gardner.

Gardner is a clubhouse leader and has more power (only in 2017). Their overall games are almost identical. Gardner hits a slump and Ellsbury gets hot for a couple of weeks and, next thing you know, the fans will be clamoring for Ellsbury to bat leadoff.

Frazier and Hicks? To move them ahead of Ellsbury on the depth chart requires a couple of leaps of faith. One player who has 60 major league at-bats and another player whose career batting average is .233.


Frazier is young and Hicks is sorta young. Since the Yankees know what Ellsbury is worth ... an average player ... it's probably worthwhile to use the 2017 season to gather more information on Frazier and Hicks. So that's a good reason to move them past Ellsbury (and maybe Gardner, while we're at it) on the depth chart.

But, with 56 games to go, I wouldn't be shocked if Frazier slumps badly and Hicks reverts to his pre-2017 form. Average Ellsbury might be an upgrade.

It was stern.

I'm pleased this has been noticed by somebody and publicly acknowledged:

"Overall, Sanchez is slashing a respectable .270/.350/.480 with 14 homers, but in his last 20 games he’s slashed just .213/.281/.313 with one homer.

The 24-year-old catcher has also had some issues defensively. Girardi was seen speaking sternly to Sanchez in Chicago over his inability to block balls in the dirt. Sanchez has nine errors and has thrown out 36 percent of potential basestealers."

Both Sanchez and Romine have done a crummy job blocking pitches.

That's mostly a lack of willingness to get dinged up. Hey, man, it's a tough job.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

They don't make blockbusters like they used to.

"The Evil Empire is back, and, oh, don’t the Boston Red Sox know it."

Meh.


"The New York Yankees pulled off a blockbuster seven-player trade Tuesday evening, seizing three players from the Chicago White Sox who the Red Sox also desired.

The Yankees acquired former All-Star closer David Robertson, former All-Star third baseman Todd Frazier and reliever Tommy Kahnle from the White Sox for prized outfield prospect Blake Rutherford, veteran reliever Tyler Clippard, minor-league pitcher Ian Clarkin, and minor-league outfielder Tito Polo."

"Former" all-stars. 

Tyler Clippard made a couple of all-star games, too.

Who hasn't? 


"The Yankees, who had lost 17 of their last 24 games, slipping to 3 ½ games behind the Red Sox in the American League East, now have a three-headed monster in late innings with closer Aroldis Chapman, Robertson and Dellin Betances.

And, considering the Yankees’ ineptitude at first and third base this season, Frazier, who is earning $12 million in the final year of his contract, is a welcome addition. He’s hitting just .207 but has 16 homers, and is a solid infielder."

Lost 17 out of 24.

In third place, 3.5 games out of first place.

Added a player hitting .207.

Evil Empire. 


"Yet, while the Yankees firmly established themselves as contenders, the biggest winners of the trade deadline have been the White Sox."

I just think Bob Nightengale is a nice guy. 

Everybody wins and everything is terrific.


"As for the Red Sox?

It's back to the phones, knowing they badly need a third baseman, while hoping to acquire another reliever.

And, oh yeah, just in case anyone wondered, that war between the Yankees and Red Sox has been rekindled, loud and clear for everyone to see."

We'll see. 

I'm not feeling it before or after the trade.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

The Dodgers are on a roll. Which reminds me of the time the Red Sox beat the Yankees in the 2004 ALCS.

Lupica's anti-Yankee obsession is downright disturbing, but if you want to read a moment-by-moment replay of Mariano's fateful blown save in Game Four, 13 years after the fact, this article, supposedly about the LA Dodgers in 2017, is your chance.


I will limit my retort to one sentence:

"The Red Sox were loaded that year, not just with talent, but with grinders."

... not just with talent, but with steroids.

Sunday, July 09, 2017

Where would Yankee fans be without Mike Lupica's analysis?

A month ago, Mike Lupica declared the Yankees to be the most complete team in Major League Baseball. The only question mark was Masahiro Tanaka.

It doesn't qualify as baseball analysis.

It's just a writer looking for a narrative and performing minimal research (looking at the standings?) to provide some backup.


So a month goes by (a bad month or the Yankees), and there is actually still some hope. Who knows? 

The Yankees are still +100 in run differential (ranked 4th), but there is no chance they are the most complete team in MLB, and they never were.

The long term plan is still in its initial stages. The realistic best-case scenario is a Championship in two or three years (wishful thinking aside).


So how does Lupica reassess the Yankees after a bad month?:

"The Mets don’t have Noah Syndergaard, don’t have Matt Harvey, don’t have Jeurys Familia. The Mets haven’t had David Wright for a while, have only had Yoenis Cespedes for half a season, during which he has occasionally looked like half the hitter he used to be at Citi Field. With the Mets, you talk about all those things before you start talking about the bullpen issues they’ve had and are still having.Then you looked at the standings Saturday night and saw that they had six more losses this season and six fewer wins than the Yankees have had."

So the Mets stink and the Yankees are six games up on the Mets.

The Yankees are in the AL East and the Mets are in the NL East, but, whatever.


"It means the Yankees now have played a lot more bad baseball this season than good."

Well, that isn't right, is it?

The Yankees are +100 in run differential and 5 games over .500.

The Giants, for example, have played a lot more bad baseball this season than good.


" ... the Yankees are 24-31 since that real fast start of theirs. It is a third of a baseball season, and thus an even bigger sampling than the first quarter of it for them. Even with the way they came back against the Brewers on Saturday afternoon, they have lost 17 of their last 24 games."

Oh.

That's not how it works.

A 24-31 stretch trends bad, but it doesn't eliminate a 20-5 stretch, even if 55 games is more games than 25 games.


"After 85 games in 2016, the Yankees were 42-43. With one game to go before the All-Star Break, then, they are a grand total of three games better than they were one year ago, for all the noise they made in April and May."

So now we know the 2017 Yankees are better than the 2017 Mets and the 2016 Yankees. 

What does all this really mean?


"What all of this really means is that Aaron Judge so far, who hit No. 30 on Friday night, breaking Joe DiMaggio’s rookie home run record, looks more like the MVP in major league baseball than ever. Because right now the big kid is the biggest reason the Yankees aren’t the Orioles or the Blue Jays. The big kid doesn’t just provide cover for some of the guys hitting around him in Joe Girardi’s batting order. These days he is providing cover for just about everybody."

Seriously?

I could have taken all of this and replaced it with one sentence: "Aaron Judge leads the majors in WAR."


Which everybody already knows.


"None of this is terminal, of course. We’ve seen the possibilities from the Yankees. We can see how much young talent there is not only in the chute, but currently on the field. It’s not as if the Red Sox have run away from them. But if they start the second half of the season the way they have finished the traditional first half of the season, then they might find themselves getting passed by the Tampa Bay Rays.

...

The Yankees have struggled lately. The Yankees still have enough talent in the room to come out of the way they’ve played over the last 50-plus games. The Yankees ought to be fine. They’re sending all those guys to the All-Star Game. Sending a couple of strong young guys to the Home Run Derby. Still seeing the Red Sox right there in front of them."

They might be good and they might be bad.

How should I know?

I'll check back in next month and tell you more things about baseball that you already know.






Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Net Positive

Gary Cohen dutifully and minimally acknowledges Daniel Murphy's destruction of the Mets.

Murphy has the highest OPS vs. a former team in MLB history.

A time bomb.

I am not saying Aaron Judge isn't the Rookie of the Year and MVP. Last season, he struck out a ridiculous 42 times in 84 at-bats.

This year, his strikeouts are way down. He has still struck out 100 times in 283 at-bats.

I did a double-take when I looked it up.

It reminds me of Betances and all his walks, fielding problems, inability to hold runners on. The flaws are covered up until they aren't.

Sunday, July 02, 2017

Yankee bullpen: choke and choker.

Betances has now walked 21 batters in 26 innings.