Saturday, May 31, 2014

Yankees should test new bullpen arms while they can

Every time the New York Yankees bring Preston Claiborne or Alfredo Aceves into a game, I cringe. While they are not typically used in high-leverage situations, they still play a part in the outcome of the game.

Claiborne came into Friday’s game with the Yankees down three runs in the seventh inning and allowed two runs on three hits and walked two batters in 1 1/3 innings. The Yankees offense was not producing, but they’ve had recent success putting together late-inning rallies in such a situation.

Claiborne has allowed runs in four of his last eight outings. Remember, this guy was not given a roster spot at the beginning of the season. We are witnessing the reasons why.

As for Aceves, he’s nothing more than an innings waster at this point. He's allowed runs in six of his nine appearances. He's done and does not deserve a roster spot at this point.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

New York Yankees: Off-day ramblings

The New York Yankees completed a nine-game road trip Wednesday night, defeating the St. Louis Cardinals 7-4, behind a make-shift lineup. The Yanks won five of the nine games and will enjoy a day off today before hosting a three-game set against the Minnesota Twins.

Some rambling thoughts/questions:
  • The pitching as a whole has been solid over the month of May – 3.55 ERA, 1.26 WHIP and .261 BAA
  • The offense on the other hand has been dismal in May - .251/.313/.377; .690 OPS ranks 20th among all MLB teams
  • The Yankees were not well-prepared to weather issues they must have known were coming for Mark Teixeira – already 6 different players have spent time at first base at some point this season.
  • Will the Yankees be forced to look at Kendrys Morales if Teixeira continues to need frequent rest, or worse if this wrist issue is more than the Yankees are making it out to be?
  • The Yanks have still rate a negative seven on the run differential scale – Pythagorean W/L is 25-27
  • They’ve been outscored by 18 runs at Yankee Stadium, but have a scored 11 more runs than their opponents on the road.
  • The Yankees have just three inter-league contests left on the schedule (July 18-20 vs. Cincinnati Reds at home).
  • They are 10-7 in inter-league play this season.
  • I think Joe Girardi has done a decent job resting Derek Jeter. I expect more days to be mixed in as the team will have just two off days from now until the All-Star Break.
  • David Phelps, Vidal Nuno and Chase Whitley getting this many starts was not on the agenda. Can the rotation continue to hold tight until CC Sabathia and Michael Pineda return?
  • The Yankees should keep John Ryan Murphy up for the rest of the season in my opinion. Find a spot somewhere for Francisco Cervelli. Murphy has proven capable of handling the backup duties. Maybe someone needs Cervelli and the Yanks can deal him? Problem is everyone will want Murphy...
  • Peter O’Brien continues to rake in the minors. He’s hit 19 homers this season between Tampa and Trenton. The power is great, but he’s only notched six walks in 194 plate appearances and has struck out 45 times. Those ratios will need to improve over time.
  • Former Yankee Phil Hughes will get the call for the Twins in Sunday's game. Hughes is 5-1 with a 3.23 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and a 5.6 K/BB ratio this season.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference.

Christopher Carelli is a freelance sports writer/editor and the Director of Content Strategy for Sportsideo.



Sunday, May 25, 2014

Can the New York Yankees build on character win?

It was one of those games that showed the character of this New York Yankees squad.

Just one day after the New York Yankees lost in a punch-in-the-gut walk-off fashion, they staged an impressive and much needed rally in the ninth inning to tie a game they had no business winning up to that point. They eventually scored the go-ahead run on a Jacoby Ellsbury solo homer in the 10th inning and David Robertson rinsed the bad taste from his mouth after blowing the save in Friday’s matchup.

The Yankees have been the model of inconsistency in recent weeks. They have been unable to get on a roll and have had a tough time putting a full game together; one with solid starting pitching, a clicking offense and stability from the relief corps. And when they do, the next day makes one forget very quickly.

Friday, May 23, 2014

New York Yankees: A (Kevin) Long night

The New York Yankees are having some issues at the plate and its all Kevin Long’s fault! That was the word in social media hell Thursday night as the Yankees were man-handled by Chicago White Sox starter Chris Sale. The Yankees batting coach is going out of his way to prevent his players from getting hits.

Being a batting coach is a thankless job. Often times, like right now for Long, the batting coach takes a beating for offensive funks. Seldom do they receive credit for their work by the fans. The players typically know better.

How often, even after parting ways do you hear players bashing a former batting coach? Also, it’s fairly infrequent that a batting coach is completely reconstructing a player’s swing. Yes it happens, but usually there are little tweaks that the coach and the player agree to try. It is Long’s responsibility to work with the players to find flaws, point them out and help eradicate them. What’s to say he’s not doing that daily with players in a rut?

Thursday, May 15, 2014

New York Yankees: Masahiro Tanaka shines every fifth game

New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka arrived from Japan with colossal expectations and a lengthy unbeaten streak many thought would not take long to break against Major League teams.

He’s surpassed those expectations and extended the streak. In a season where consistency has been a team issue, there is no such unpredictability when Tanaka takes the mound every fifth game.

Tanaka moved to 6-0 (eight starts) Wednesday night hurling his first MLB shutout against the New York Mets at Citi Field. Tanaka has a sparkling 2.17 ERA, 0.91 WHIP and has held batters to a measly .214 batting average. He has 66 strikeouts in 58 innings and has walked just seven batters.

The Yankees have found their stopper, their ace and the arm they hope to lean on for years to come. They needed a big performance Wednesday after being beat down by the Mets in the two games at Yankee Stadium.

Tanaka delivered.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

New York Yankees: “He’s hurt too”

New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi sat at the table after the game with a dejected look. His pitching staff (yes, everyone who touched the ball Monday, not just the bullpen) couldn't hold two separate three-run leads and wound up losing to the New York Mets 9-7 in the latest inception of the Subway Series.

While scratching his head trying to work through the questions about the poor pitching display, his news conference turned into a barrage of injury updates, some old, some new and mostly unsurprising.

As has been the case for several years now, the Yankees have fielded one of Major League Baseball's oldest teams. With that brings the assumption, and in some eyes the expectation that there will be some injuries along the way.

With CC Sabathia being the most recent player, the Yankees have now placed eight men on the disabled list this season, and it could grow quickly to a level difficult to maintain based on Girardi’s statements.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

SportsHi5: Powerful sports community micro-blogging mobile app

I'm going off the baseball path today to let you know about a sports micro-blogging mobile app that I had a large part in creating. It's called SportsHi5 and it's built for sports enthusiasts looking for a place to share their sports knowledge and gain exposure while eliminating the noise present in other social media networks.

SportsHi5, available in the iTunes App Store and the Google Play Store, is marketed to three distinct groups within the sports industry – fans, inexperienced sports bloggers and established sports bloggers/writers/websites.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

MLB: THIS is why replay is vital to baseball’s success

If there was any question as to whether instant replay in Major League Baseball was essential to the growth and integrity of the sport, it was answered Tuesday night in Pittsburgh where the Pirates edged the San Francisco Giants 2-1 in dramatic fashion.

Pirates’ outfielder Starling Marte drove a ball to the right field wall and scampered around the bases sliding into third base with a triple. The throw got by Giants’ third baseman Pablo Sandoval and Marte hustled for home.

Here’s the play.


There have been a multitude of replays so far this season but none as compelling and decisive as this one. THIS is the reason baseball needs replay.

Say what you want about the tradition of the game being altered with instant replay, but the history of the game should no longer be swayed by incorrect calls. Getting the call right and awarding a victory without reservation is much better than keeping to a custom ripe with the potential for human error.

The replay from Tuesday, and those preceding it, demonstrates why it is an essential component to the continued success of Major League Baseball.

If the Pirates reach the playoffs by one game, this one will be remembered as a day the call was right, not wrong.

Christopher Carelli is a freelance sports writer/editor and the Director of Content Strategy for Sportsideo.



Tuesday, May 6, 2014

New York Yankees: Will Derek Jeter benefit from Brendan Ryan's Return?

When New York Yankees shortstop and captain Derek Jeter announced during spring training that he would retire after this season there was plenty of speculation about how he would be handled in terms of appearances. How often would he sit? When would he slot in as the designated hitter? The plan was never fully executed due to the injury of Brendan Ryan.

Ryan, the sure-handed and slick fielding shortstop, has been on the disabled list since the end of spring training recuperating from a back injury. Ryan is set to be activated Tuesday according to MLB.com's Bryan Hoch, and it might come at the perfect time for Jeter and the Yankees.

The narrative over the last several games was how Jeter looks “old” at the plate. After suffering through a 0-for-14 slump, Jeter rapped two hits in Monday’s loss to the Los Angeles Angels, to break the skid. Prior to the longer 3-for-28 slide, Jeter “looked young” his average sitting at .294 (April 25).

So which is it?

Saturday, May 3, 2014

New York Yankees: Extra-inning loss has it all

The New York Yankees are going through a rough stretch. The frustrations peaked Friday night, into Saturday morning as they lost a 14-inning, five-hour and 49-minute heartbreaker to the Tampa Bay Rays.

The game had all sorts of interesting and weird occurrences, as well as ramifications for Saturday’s matinee.

The Good
  • Jacoby Ellsbury continues to be a sparkplug going 4-for-6 with a walk and a stolen base.
  • Brian McCann, Mark Teixeira and Alfonso Soriano all homered.
  • Teixeira’s and Soriano’s homers were back-to-back and tied the game in the eighth inning.
  • Brian Roberts stroked three important hits from the ninth inning on.
  • The Yankees rapped out 18 hits.
  • The bullpen allowed just one run from the fifth inning (one out recorded) through the 13th inning.
  • The Yankees showed some never-say-die attitude tying the game in the eighth and ninth innings.
  • The Yankees turned five double-plays.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Bronx Bummers: Yankees’ offensive funk continues

There were few positives for the New York Yankees to point after the two-game series loss to the Seattle Mariners. One negative trend has manifested into a complete issue. This offense is weak and dragging the team down.

The Yankees have scored 13 runs over their last five games. Their pathetic offensive display was magnified by a bargain basement starter and an unheralded rookie.

The Yankees were held in check by Chris Young, who hadn’t won a MLB game since 2012 and rookie pitcher Roenis Elias. Young stymied the Yankees allowing just one earned run on three hits across 5 2/3 innings, while Elias was even better allowing one run over seven innings and striking out 10 batters.

The Yankees offense has a combined .261/.326/.404 line ranking 10th in team OPS in MLB. This was supposed to be a bounce back season for the club in terms of offense after signing Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann. Only Ellsbury has performed consistently well since the onset of the season.

Here’s a look at some Yankees hitting stats from players with more than 40 plate appearances.