Friday, April 17, 2015

Yankees looking to get on track against Rays

The New York Yankees begin a three-game set Friday against division rival Tampa Bay (6-4, second place in AL East) with the hopes of winning their first series of the season. Adam Warren, Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda are the scheduled starters for the Yankees versus the Rays.

Adam Warren gets the start Friday.
Photo courtesy of Keith Allison
via Flickr.
The Yankees are 3-6 on the season, good for last place in the American League East. The first nine games of the season have seen plenty of ups and downs for the club. The rotation has been OK, but big innings and bad defense have suffocated the Yankees.

Warren pitched very well in his debut (5.1 IP, 2 R, 1 ER) against the Boston Red Sox, but took the loss. Tanaka will be making his third start of the season. He was undone by a poor inning in the Yankees' opener, but was a bit better in his victory over the Red Sox. Pineda is also set for his third start after picking up his first win despite allowing four runs against the Baltimore Orioles.

Not all of the opposition scoring is the fault of the pitchers. The defense has been letting the team down with several miscues, each of which seems to open the flood gates for their opponent.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Yankees: A-Rod’s “four facets” talk rings true

The New York Yankees are 3-6, and have lost their first three series to teams in the American League East. They have a day off Thursday and face the final team in their division in a three-game set in Tampa beginning Friday.

Alex Rodriguez put the Yankees' predicament perfectly after Thursday night’s 7-5 loss to the Baltimore Orioles.

“We’re going to be seeing these guys (the entire AL East) all year for a long time,” Rodriguez said per Chad Jennings of The LoHud Yankees Blog. “We know the score. It’s important to play well. More than who we’re playing against, it’s more important to control what we can do. The four facets is what we have to go back to, focus on the fundamentals and let the big things happen when they happen.”

Say what you will about A-Rod, but he has always been a student of the game. He has been known to love chatting about baseball and is considered by many to be incredibly astute concerning the ins and outs of the game.

Rodriguez’s notion of baseball's four facets are offense, defense, pitching and base running. The Yankees have failed to provide any consistency in these areas and have yet to put together a single game in which they excelled in all four.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Yankees will be patient with Stephen Drew

Whether fans like it or not, the New York Yankees will be patient with Stephen Drew. He gave everyone a reason to exhale and deliberate on his status with the club after a pinch-hit grand slam in Monday night’s 6-5 victory over the Baltimore Orioles.

Stephen Drew
Photo courtesy of Keith Allison via Flickr.
Drew is much maligned after putting together what was one of the worst seasons in Major League Baseball history in 2014. He held out for a better contract last offseason after being slapped with a qualifying offer from the Boston Red Sox. Suitors bypassed Drew and eventually he re-signed with Boston and began playing in June. Missing Spring Training was a certain detriment to his offensive skill set and he began losing playing time.

Drew was eventually traded to the Yankees and was not given much of a chance to play consistently as his struggles simply moved down the coast. Besides the offensive downturn, Drew was also being asked to play an entirely new position, second base. Drew ended the season with a slash line that could drive a player out of baseball – .162/.267/.299 in 300 plate appearances.

But, Drew has a track record, one which does not spell out superstar, but rather maintains respectable offensive numbers for a middle infielder. After the 2013 season, in which Drew was an important component to the Red Sox World Series championship team, the 32-year-old carried a .264/.329/.435 line in just under 4,000 plate appearances. He owned 162-game averages of 17 home runs and 72 RBI. He hit .253/.333/.433 for the Red Sox with 13 homers and 67 RBI in 2013 which is darn close to those averages.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Yankees remain a mystery one week into season

The New York Yankees have completed their first week of the regular season and the results have been inconsistent to say the least. Their 2-4 record puts them in last place in the American League East as they begin a 10-game road trip Monday.

There is just as much evidence pointing to that being a good reflection of the club’s future as there is that the record is an aberration.

The Yankees began the season with several question marks, none of which could be answered in a week, but we can investigate where they are heading at the present time.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

The numbers inside 19-inning Yankees/Red Sox game

The New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox began the first game of their three-game series in the Bronx just after 7 p.m. EST and over seven hours later the visitors hung on to a 6-5 victory.

The game had a little bit of everything you could imagine in the course of 19 innings – good pitching, timely hitting, errors, misplays, bad base-running, lighting issues, terrible home plate officiating, game-tying homers, elation and anguish.

Let’s break down what went down with a tribute to the numbers 1-19:

Friday, April 10, 2015

Defensive shifts hurting Yankees’ defense too

The New York Yankees lost 6-3 to the Toronto Blue Jays Thursday, as a four-run second inning by the visitors proved too much to overcome. CC Sabathia pitched in his first game since last May and while the score indicates otherwise, his performance leaves me with some optimism for the remainder of the season where it concerns the big lefty.

What’s troubling, besides an anemic offense which we’ll get to later, is the Yankees unrelenting and unhelpful deployment of the defensive shift. We’ve seen firsthand how the shift can eliminate plenty of hits with Mark Teixeira and Brian McCann drilling ball after ball into it. However, when the Yankees put the shift on it doesn’t seem to work as often as it's beaten.

There are a number of reasons why this could be the case. One, it could be fluky, where the number of data points are still too small to pass complete judgment. Another possibility is the Yankees infielders are not exactly in the right position for the batter. The analytics provide teams a spotted view of where most of the player’s batted balls land, but there has to be someone showing the fielder where it is best to play and more importantly the player has to be in the right position knowing his range. Finally, the potential exists that the Yankees are employing the shift against too many players.