Wednesday, September 30, 2015

How big is tonight’s start for Yankees’ Tanaka?

Suggesting that Game 158 for the New York Yankees is big when the postseason is within grasp, is certainly not an overstep in narrative. But, Masahiro Tanaka’s performance lamented as the be-all and end-all game of the season is pushing the dialogue a bit.

Masahiro Tanaka
Photo credit: Keith Allison via Flickr
Surely, Tanaka’s Wednesday night start against the Boston Red Sox is important for several reasons.

First, the Yankees desperately need a win to get the taste of the playoffs on their lips instead of sniffing it in front of their noses.

Secondly, the Yankees must have Tanaka tuned up for his potential start in the American League Wild Card game.

Third, and in my mind most importantly, Tanaka has to prove he is healthy enough to pitch without abandon. He cannot come into today’s game giving less than 100 percent. If Tanaka cannot go full throttle, he’ll be of no use to the Yankees for the wild card affair.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Yankees redirect attention to wild card berth

The American League East title might finally be out of reach for the New York Yankees after losing two of three games to the Toronto Blue Jays. This is not to say the Yanks should give up on their quest for the division title, but they might begin to gear up for a winner-take-all play-in game Oct. 6.

The Yankees must still play to win the AL East title, on the slim chance that the Blue Jays continue to play .500 ball the rest of the way (Toronto is 5-5 in their last 10 games). It would take an impressive 9-2 run by the Yankees over their final 11 games, but it is certainly not impossible. The effort to win each game should remain, if only to be playing top-notch baseball when the wild card game arrives.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Where does Yankees' Greg Bird begin the 2016 season?

The only reason New York Yankees’ first baseman Greg Bird isn’t riding the pine this September is because Mark Teixeira has a busted left leg, and there wasn’t anyone already on the roster that could fill the void. Now Bird is outperforming expectations bringing to light the question of where he begins play in 2016.

How good has Bird been? Let’s extrapolate Bird's numbers through Friday night's game to the same number of plate appearances Teixeira had before going down with his injury.

I understand extrapolation is not an exact science for future performance, but it does give you an idea of the kind of offensive production Bird has provided comparatively speaking to Teixeira’s.

The drop-off is not great, and we’re talking about a player in Teixeira who was arguably the Yankees best offensive force this season before the injury. While there are issues to address (strikeouts in particular) it is easy to see the dilemma of whether Bird starts back in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre or grabs a spot on the 25-man roster as the backup first baseman.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Postseason hunt becomes more difficult for Yankees

The New York Yankees already had their backs against the wall trying to keep pace with a juggernaut in Toronto, and now the newest wave of injuries will truly test their mettle.

Masahiro Tanaka
Photo credit: Keith Allison via Flickr
After Tuesday night’s disappointing loss to the Baltimore Orioles, the Yankees fell 1 ½ games behind the Blue Jays in the American League East. The Yanks received a stellar pitching performance from Masahiro Tanaka, who hurled eight innings of one-run ball with 10 strikeouts, but to no avail as the offense sputtered in a 2-1 loss. Wednesday, the Yankees will try for the series victory with CC Sabathia on the mound as he returns from the disabled list due to his bum knee.

Then the Yankees have a four-game set with the Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium. The Yanks will have to make a statement, minimally winning three out of four games in my view, in order show Toronto that winning the division will not be easy despite the stacked odds facing the Bombers.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Would Yankees consider Stephen Drew for 2016?

The New York Yankees showed the upmost in faith in Stephen Drew, mostly because of his glove, but also for that occasional pop he might provide. His batting average languished below the Mendoza-line from the end of the season’s first game until Aug. 30 after two months of dismal offensive production to start the season.

A three-month steady climb, culminated by a huge road trip in which he went 9-for-20 with two doubles and two home runs, has the Yankees reaping consistent benefits from Drew offensively, which brings a big question to light. Will they try to bring Drew back in 2016 for a third go-around with the club?

Let me begin by saying that I’m not lobbying for the Yankees to re-sign Drew next season. I’m thrilled to see him hit because it helps the team, but I firmly believe the Yankees should be happy with what they received for this season and be willing to move on. I’m not convinced Drew has found his 2013 form, nor am I going to assume this streak will go on for the remainder of the season. While he’s had a nice three-month stretch (see tweet below), he also looked pathetic at the plate in the first two months of this season and all of 2014.