Thursday, May 31, 2012

New York Yankees: Off-Day Notes

  •'s Bryan Hoch put together a nice look at the upcoming MLB Draft for the New York Yankees. They currently hold the 30th pick of the first round and the 84th and 89th pick of the second round. The draft takes place on Monday in New Jersey and CC Sabathia will be on-site to represent the Yankees. 
    • One of the big things that was noted was that the Yankees look for a player that can not only succeed in the major leagues, but thrive in the New York City atmosphere. Damon Oppenheimer has done a good job of picking players recently. The Yankees should be in good shape.
    • Get ready for some big coverage of the upcoming MLB Draft from Stirring Straw's Matt Filippi and Nick Pugliese in the next few days. 
  • The Yankees' minor league affiliates announced that they will be participating in HOPE week as well. The major league team will be hosting HOPE Week in the Bronx from June 25th-June 29th. 
  • It was a quiet day for the most part. The Yankees could use the rest with the change of time zones. Everyone could use some sleep. 

Yankees Injury News: Austin Romine Cleared for Baseball Activities

Good news reported by Romine on his Twitter account.
New York Yankees' catching prospect Austin Romine has been cleared to participate in baseball related activities after being sidelined with an inflamed disc in his back. Romine has been projected to return to Triple-A in July. Romine has been viewed as the Yankees' top catching prospect in the upper level of the minor league system and 2012 was going to be his first full season at Triple-A.

Romine was called up last September after the Yankees encountered injuries with Russell Martin and Francisco Cervelli. Since he went down with his injury in Spring Training, the Yankees have traded for Chris Stewart and demoted Cervelli to Triple-A.

A back problem for a catcher is a serious matter and the Yankees will definitely be monitoring his progress closely.

Player Spotlight: Andy Pettitte Pitch F/X Breakdown

Quite the return for Andy Pettitte thus far.
New York Yankees' starting pitcher Andy Pettitte has been very impressive thus far this season in most of his starts. Pettitte appears like he never retired from baseball as he holds a sub-3.50 ERA through his first four starts. He has pitched into the seventh inning in each of his starts, while striking out 19 batters over 21 1/3 innings. When Pettitte told Yankees' general manager Brian Cashman that he wanted to return, he knew that he could still contribute to this team and he has.

One thing to note about Pettitte is how fearless he has been when it comes to throwing his fastball, which is just clocking in at an average of almost 88 mph. He is showing that you don't need to have that great velocity to get hitters out.

But his best go-to pitch has been the cutter. Two starts ago, he threw 92 pitches and over 70 of them were strikes. The cutter is being swung at the most and whiffed at the most as a result. When it isn't sung at, Pettitte will usually locate it along the outer portion of the plate, so it will be called a ball. Selectivity has to be key for a hitter facing Pettitte and knowing that the cutter could be coming next.

Pitch Outcomes 2012 via Brooks Baseball. (Click to Enlarge)
One interesting thing to note about the chart above is that Pettitte has really backed off the use of his curveball so often. He has only thrown it to right-handed hitters inside and they happen to be fouling it off. A strike is a strike and Pettitte will take it, but he will not use it as his put-away pitch. That's the cutter's role for the majority of the time.

Pitch Outcomes 2010 via Brooks Baseball. (Click to Enlarge)
It's been said a lot about Pettitte looking like he never left, but it is so true. His trends really have not changed much. Here are his splits in pitch outcomes for 2010 and the immediate thing that can be noticed is that a lot of the percentages are so close. It's a small sample with only four starts in the books, but if anything one nice thing to note is his slider has been a tad better, leading to more groundballs and no homeruns.

Horizontal Release Point (Left) & Vertical Release Point (Right)
One last point to underscore is the fact that the release point for Andy has not changed. The gap between 2010 and 2012 has not made a difference. Andy Pettitte knew that by inking a minor league deal with the Yankees that he still could win ballgames. He has been successful thus far and all he can hope for is to keep it going and get New York into first place very soon. 

Yankees Leave the West Coast On a High Note; Beat Angels 6-5

Let's go back to a normal time zone.
The hits with runners in scoring position are still not showing up for the New York Yankees, but the homerun ball was enough to avoid a sweep in Anaheim against the Los Angeles Angels. Curtis Granderson's three-run jack and Robinson Cano's two-run shot helped Ivan Nova get away with surrendering five runs in New York's 6-5 victory on Wednesday night.

Raul Ibanez's triple put the Yankees in a position to take the lead late in the game and Nick Swisher delivered the run with a sacrifice fly-ball. Corey Wade held the lead by getting out of a jam with a runner on first and third in the seventh inning. He would strike out three hitters, before turning over the ball to Rafael Soriano in the ninth inning.

Soriano spoke to reporters earlier in the day and said how he is not bothered by the pressure in a close game. With just a one-run lead, the right-handed pitcher called for a blood pressure check late in the game by putting two runners on-base with Mike Trout at the plate.

Trout homered off Nova earlier in the contest and killed the Yankees' pitching in the series. Soriano got Trout to pop out to left field for the final out of the game. This marked his sixth save of the year, since assuming the closing duties after Mariano Rivera and David Robertson went down with injuries.

Late night Yankee games are over for now with a 4-2 record for the West Coast trip. The team now travels to Detroit for a series against the Tigers, where CC Sabathia takes the hill against rookie Casey Crosby. The Stirring Straw will have more for that series tomorrow.

Chris Chavez is the Editor-In-Chief of The Stirring Straw. Be sure to follow him on Twitter for updates and analysis. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Game 50: Don't Get Swept

Please just get out of here with a win. Here's the lineup:

  1. Derek Jeter, SS
  2. Curtis Granderson, CF
  3. Alex Rodriguez, 3B
  4. Robinson Cano, 2B
  5. Mark Teixeira, 1B
  6. Raul Ibanez, LF
  7. Nick Swisher, RF
  8. Eric Chavez, DH
  9. Russell Martin, C
And it will be Ivan Nova on the bump. This one will start a little after 10 and can be seen on YES.

Hot/Cold Report May 23-30: Tex Message Edition

This past week was neither incredible nor terrible for the Yankees. They posted a 4-2 record, but are currently on a two game losing streak.

To recap the best and worst in Bronx baseball over the past week, take a look at our weekly hot/cold report.

Who's Hot?

Mark Teixeira

I am one of Tex's biggest critics, but the past week was awesome for Mark. He hit four home runs, drove in ten runs, and raised his season average to .263. 

Tex's hot week has put him in a good spot. As the season progresses, it becomes harder to "make up" for slow starts. Yet, in just one week, he may have turned it around.

May streaks are common for Tex. Since his first Yankee season in 2009, he has hit over .280 three times in May. This doesn't sound like much, but he had a season average over .260 once since 2009.

One can only hope he continues to hit.


Kuroda is the type of pitcher who rebounds well after bad starts. After he allows at least four runs, he has not allowed more than three runs in the next. Kuroda continued to do well after a bad start (7 earned runs) two weeks ago. He allowed three runs in his next start a week and a half ago, and, in his one start this week, he went eight strong and did not allow a run. 

These are good performances from a pitcher I expected little of this year. Realistically, it is tougher for older National League pitchers to make the transition to the American League. That Kuroda does well after bad starts is encouraging; a few poor outings in New York can turn the fans against you quickly!

The Pen

The two main Yankee relievers, Boone Logan and Rafael Soriano, gave the team three and a third scoreless innings from the pen this week. 

It may not sound like much, but we all know Mo's and Robertson's injuries. The starters have been eating more innings (only Hughes did not have a start of 7 innings or more this week), but that only accentuates the need for a strong pen; the starters are putting NY in a position to win.

Who's Cold?

Phil Hughes likes to allow runners to get on-base and score
Courtesy: Newsday

Phil Hughes

Hitters have a .284 batting average against Hughes this year.

Team Batting Average with Runners in Scoring Position

The Yankees have been dreadful with runners in scoring position (RISP).

A quick perspective: they are hitting .223, 25th in the MLB.

The problem: they have the most expensive lineup in baseball.

The other problem: they are in the middle of the pack (16th) in at-bats with runners in scoring position. In other words, they are getting chances, but not converting.

Falling Behind
Currently, the Yankees give up the 3rd most runs in the first six innings of any team in baseball.

This goes back to poor starting pitching, but I believe the Yankees will turn this around. They appear to have decent starting pitching again, and will not need to rely on their bullpen as much anymore.

At the same time, Yankees hitters have to be discouraged by their starters' lack of performance early in games. It is very deflating to be playing from behind, and good starting pitching is the backbone of playoff success.

The good news: it is still early in the season!

Haren Holds Yanks Off, Beats Them 5-1

After a tough loss last night that ended with a Mark Trumbo walk off homer, I was hoping the Yankees would come out swinging tonight, but unfortunately the bats were held at bay and the Halos were able to take another one, this time by a score of 5-1. Let's recap:
  • Let's start with the good. Andy Pettitte did pitch very well. He did allow five runs on nine hits over seven plus innings, but he didn't walk anyone and there were times where he was throwing the ball really well. He allowed three runs in the third thanks to some crummy umpiring and an Albert Pujols homer. He scattered two more runs, one of which was inherited and let in by Cody Eppley. Despite the line, this definitely wasn't a clanker thrown by Pettitte.
  • The Yanks offense was a bit of a problem, however. They were able to get guys on base (nine hits, two walks), but they couldn't get the runs across. They went 3 for 11 with runners in scoring position and left twelve men on base as a team. The good news is they had it set up with perfectly because Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano combined to leave fourteen men on (!!). They also combined to go 0 for 10 on the night with four strikeouts. At least they had the right guys up there and on any other night, they probably score more runs.
  • As far as the rest of the offense goes Alex Rodriguez had three hits, Derek Jeter had two, and Mark Teixeira, Raul Ibanez, Nick Swisher, and Russell Martin each had one. Swisher probably should have had another one, which should have been a homer, but Mike Trout made a great play and robbed him.
Not much else to say about this one. Tomorrow the Yankees will look to avoid the sweep as these same two teams play again and Ivan Nova takes on Ervin Santana.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Yankees Farm Report: May 29th, 2012

Scranton 8 - Toledo 7

Jack Cust had three hits including two homer while Kevin Russo, Steve Pearce, and Frankie Cervelli each had two hits, Russo scored a run and drove one in, Pearce homered and scored twice, and Cervelli doubled and walked. Ronnier Mustelier added a double and three ribbies as well. Adam Warren was on the hill and he pitched decently allowing three runs (two earned) on seven hits while striking out six and walking three. Justin Thomas and Manny Delcarmen each had scoreless outing and the team had a lead going into the ninth, but Kevin Whelan allowed four runs before the Yanks won it in the ninth.

Trenton - Erie

This game got suspended and will be continued tomorrow at 6:05 as part of a double header.

Tampa 4 - Clearwater 3

Rob Segedin led the way on offense with two hits and an RBI, followed by Ramon Flores, JR Murphy, Kyle Roller, and Eduardo Sosa who each had one hit, Flores and Murphy each doubled, Roller homered, and Sosa drove in a run. Also, some thing of big league relevance, Russell Branyan started his rehab back from a back injury. He was signed back in the Spring and I would think he'll re-join Triple-A Scranton when he's healthy. On the mound, Kramer Sneed got the spot start and allowed a run over five frames while giving up four hits, no walks, and striking out two. Mark Montgomery hit a bit of a speed bump, allowing a run and getting his first blown save of the game. He still struck out two and got the win, however. Tommy Kahnle would go on to get the save in a scoreless tenth.

Charleston - Asheville

This game also got suspended and they'll play two tomorrow starting at 11:05.

Game 49: Back On Track

(Baseball Index)
The Yankees had won five in a row before that walk-off loss last night and even in that one, they scored enough runs to win. Hopefully they can get back to winning and even this series at one a piece. Here's the lineup:
  1. Derek Jeter, SS
  2. Curtis Granderson, CF
  3. Alex Rodriguez, DH
  4. Robinson Cano, 2B
  5. Mark Teixeira, 1B
  6. Raul Ibanez, DH
  7. Nick Swisher, RF
  8. Eric Chavez, 3B
  9. Russell Martin, C
And it will be Andy Pettitte on the bump. This one will start a little after 10 and can be seen on YES.

The Tex Turn Around

I know we don't usually put content out this late, but with tonight being a late game due to the west coast, I felt compelled to get something up before then.

Remember last week? It seems so long ago, yet it is not far away at all. The reason it probably seems this way is because the Yankees were playing so badly. Their pitching was decent, but wasn't being picked up by the offense. It seemed like everyone had gone cold at the same time and they couldn't get a hit with runners in scoring position as hard as they tried. My father actually said that any opposing team should purposely balk after allowing a walk or a single to get the base runner into scoring position because they would have a better chance at hold the Bombers scoreless. I laughed.

The eptiome of this was Mark Teixeira. Until the Yankees rattled off five wins in a row previously, he was hitting .203/.268/.375 for the month of May. Not exactly what you're hoping for from a guy that's getting paid eight figures to get on base and hit for power in the middle of the lineup. One day during this horrid stretch, I was communicating with some fans through our Twitter feed and I couldn't believe what I was seeing.

Everyone wanted Teixeira's head or at least wanted him benched. The man had been battling a pretty bad cough, and besides all big league hitters go through their ups and downs throughout the season, it's not like this was something new. They didn't want to hear it though. He was dead to them.

Shockingly, a sub .300 wOBA and a .600 OPS was not Tex's true talent and he has gone on a tear during the past six games (coincidentally the Yanks have won five during this time. He's hitting .524/.630/1.238 with four homers, getting his season wOBA up to .351 and his wRC+ up to 120. Clearly this isn't his true talent either (well the latter is to a certain extent) and he will come back down to earth at some point, but there is something to be optimistic about. Whenever, a player starts to not play well, it's not the end of the world because chances are they will bounce back, especially if they put up big numbers year in and year out.

No Need To Panic

Everyone was shaking their heads just a week ago. (Metro)
Just last week the New York Yankees hit an absolute low point for the season. The 2012 campaign began no differently than any other year for the Yankees: with the expectation that they would win their 28th World Series title. However, a championship seemed a distant cry as Yankee fans began to groan over poor performance by the team. Forty-two games in and the “vaunted” Yankees were stuck in fourth place in the division with a 21-21 record. To make matters worse, teams that were expected to finish in the cellar of the league jockeyed for positions at the top. The youth driven Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals held the best records in baseball and first place in their respective divisions. Even more bothersome to Yankee fans, cross town rival the New York Mets, were second in the National League East with a better record than the Yankees.  It seemed that maybe age had caught up to the them, and a changing of the guard was underway in Major League Baseball.

One week later and things have changed. The Yankees took a road trip west to the bay area and have found gold. They have won five of their last six games and have charged back into contention atop the American League East. Currently at 26-22, the Yankees are in third place 2.5 games off the lead of the Orioles. Much improved from the 7.5 game deficit they faced earlier this month.

The catalyst for this recent Yankee surge has been increased offensive production. A week ago the Yankees were batting a measly .109 with runners in scoring position, but that has all changed. In the last six games the Yankee offense has averaged 6 runs a game; an improvement from the 1.57 average the previous seven games. More importantly the cold bat of Mark Teixeira has heated up and Alex Rodriguez has shown promising signs as well. Furthermore, the Yankees pitching has improved and Rafael Soriano has solidified the spot as the closer in Mariano Rivera’s absence.

The question to be pondered is this: Did Yankee fans have anything to worry about in the first place? The answer is no. It seems as if the Yankees do this every year; they start of slow, hit their stride as summer comes, and then take the reigns of the division. In 2009 the Yankees were 15-17 on May 12th. The Yankees won 14 of their next 17, took over first place in the division and went on to win the World Series. Just last season the Yankees started off 20-19 and ended the season in the playoffs.

Every year as the weather heats up, the Yankees heat up. With new found offense, Brett Gardner back in June and improved pitching all around, expect the 2012 Yankees to be no different than those of the last few seasons. This recent west coast swing will propel the Yankees forward and come fall order will be restored in the American League East. The Yankees, Tampa Bay Rays, and Boston Red Sox will still be in control. With the new format it is even possible that all three teams make the playoffs. It all goes back to the old saying “It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.”

New York Yankees Claim Former Mets' Reliever Ryota Igarashi

Igarashi with the Mets in 2011.
According to the Wall Street Journal's Dan Barbarisi, the New York Yankees have claimed relief pitcher Ryota Igarashi off waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays and will report to the minor leagues.

Igarashi played for the Pittsburgh Pirates in Spring Training until he was traded. He struggled in Spring Training and struggled in two outings with the Blue Jays, which included one outing where he allowed four runs in one inning. The move was made after the Texas Rangers torched the bullpen and Toronto made a call for fresher arms. He pitched for the New York Mets in 2011, where he proved that getting groundball outs was a strength of his. The 4.66 ERA over 38 2/3 innings also included a 9.8 K/9 ratio.

David Phelps' New Role

Without David Robertson and Mariano Rivera, the Yankees bullpen is pretty thin on the back-end. We've seen Joe Girardi start to use the like of Cory Wade and even Cody Eppley in late inning situations, but he can't go to these guys every night, and there's also the fact that Eppley isn't the most reliable guy. So what can the Yanks do?

Well, we saw part of the answer last night. First of all, Phil Hughes struggled right out of the gate. He allowed four runs in the first inning. Maybe Girardi left Hughes in there because he saw his offense was on its game, but it could be something else too. Freddy Garcia seems to be the primary long man now, and would Garcia be a real upgrade over Hughes? Would he be able to keep the game as close as Hughes? I honestly don't think so.

Girardi could have also gone with David Phelps. Phelps is stretched out to an extent and would have been able to give the team a good amount of innings while keeping the game close. But no. Hughes stayed in for 5.1 until he gave way to Eppley. He was able to get one out, but allowed a hit and a walk at which point he was pulled. Phelps was brought in to replace Eppley in the sixth with the bases loaded and two outs rather than to replace Hughes.

What does this say? Well, I wrote a short piece last week about how the bullpen should change a little bit, and we're starting to see it. Phelps is starting to be used in higher leverage situations, which is good. He's shown the ability to get guys out so why not try him there and see what he can do. Robertson should be back in the next week or so, so hopefully they won't need to rely on him too much in that time, but you have to wonder if Phelps can pitch his way into a bigger role in the pen going forward.

Yankees News & Notes: West Coast Catch Up

Last night’s loss to the Los Angeles Angels snapped a winning streak for the New York Yankees. Coming off a sweep in Oakland, the Yankees are hoping to get their offensive struggles together. Slowly but surely, they are finding means of scoring runs.
The Stirring Straw’s staff has been very busy this week and so we apologize for spotty coverage here and there. It’s the West Coast and most of our following is on the East Coast, so readership has also been down with late night posts. Everything will be back to normal once they get back to a normal time zone. 
Here are a few news and notes from across the Yankees’ universe today:
Injury Notes

- David Aardsma tweeted that he will be throwing to hitters on Friday. This marks the first time in over a year in which he will be doing so. 

- After colliding in the outfield in last night’s game, Nick Swisher and Curtis Granderson made it clear that they are both fine.

- Brett Gardner will be taking a few swings in Tampa today and appears to be a week away from joining the team. 

- Similarly David Robertson has been playing catch as he waits for his oblique injury to settle down. He tossed the ball around yesterday and will do the same today. 

- Russell Martin appears to be fine after sitting a few games with a back injury. He slid into second base yesterday and got up with no trouble. Legging out his double in the seventh inning had no issue either. 
Roger Clemens Trial

- Two jurors were dismissed from the case for sleeping and another has left due to a death in the family. Roger Clemens is still facing a perjury trial against him that is about to enter it’s seventh week and only one alternate juror remains. The defense case for Clemens is about to begin. 

Odd Night In Anaheim Ends in a Yankees' Loss to the Angels

"It's not your fault." - Good Will Hunting
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim starter Jered Weaver tossed a no-hitter against the Minnesota Twins on May 3rd. The right-handed pitcher would go on to toss a no-outer against the New York Yankees on Monday night as he exited the game after twelve pitches with a lower back injury. The first inning of the ballgame would set the tone of what was in store for the rest of the night.

Yankees' starter Phil Hughes took the mound with a three run lead in the bottom of the first inning. Hughes, an Orange County native, was making his first start in Anaheim with friends and family in attendance. There is no telling whether it was the nerves that lead to surrendering four runs in the bottom of the first inning to hand over the lead to the Angels.

Similar clash. Same result.
The pitches were hitting their spots, but the Los Angeles bats just caught up to Hughes' stuff. Curtis Granderson responded by hitting a homerun to tie the ballgame 4-4. The Yankees' starter avoided any further damage until Granderson and Nick Swisher collided in the outfield. The collision looked like Bubba Crosby and Gary Sheffield's clash in 2005 and almost happened in the same spot. Swisher's error led to a triple that would come around to score.

Phil Hughes would pitch 5 1/3 innings and strike out just three batters. Mike Trout took him deep in the fourth inning to mark the tenth consecutive start in which Hughes has allowed a homerun. But the Yankee bats would let him off with a no-decision.

Mark Teixeira appears to have overcome his battle with the cough and is on a West Coast tear. He belted his fourth homerun in four games with a fifth inning shot off reliever Hisanori Takahashi. His ninth homerun of the year pulled the Yankees within one. Kendry Morales would add another in the next inning.

Russell Martin delivered a two-run double to tie the game at eight in the seventh inning. He was hitting .180 with runners in scoring position prior to that at-bat.

The rally monkeys were out in full force for the bottom of the ninth and Trumbo delivered the victory with a walkoff homerun. Hughes entered the game as the local story to watch, but Trumbo reminded him that this was his territory then and now.

The Yankees' winning streak was snapped with the loss as they look to rebound in the second game of the series Tuesday night.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Yankees Farm Report: May 28, 2012

Hey guys, it's been a busy weekend for me as you could probably tell from the lack of content, and I'm sorry about that. Going forward I'm clear and will be posting regularly. Just box scores for tonight's farm report (Tampa had a day off):

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Game 47: Keep The Line Moving

(Getty Images)
Just keep winning. Here's the lineup
  1. Derek Jeter, SS
  2. Curtis Granderson, CF
  3. Mark Teixeira, 1B
  4. Alex Rodriguez, 3B
  5. Robinson Cano, 2B
  6. Nick Swisher, RF
  7. Andruw Jones, DH
  8. Jayson Nix, LF
  9. Chris Stewart, C
And it will be Hiroki Kuroda. This one will start a little after 4 and can be seen on YES.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Baseball America's Second Mock Draft

Jim Callis of Baseball America has released his second mock draft of the draft season with only nine days to go until the big day. Callis has the Bombers taking high school shortstop Addison Russell. Here's what he has to say about the pick overall:
Derek Jeter has to slow down some time—doesn't he?—and when he does, Florida high school shortstop Addison Russell could be a nice replacement. If any team takes fast-rising Washington prep righthander Mitchell Gueller in the first round, it could be New York.
Mike Axisa over at River Avenue Blues profiled Russell so of you want more info on him click the link. From what I've read on him, he's a bat first guy with tons of raw power, who may wind up profiling better as a third baseman. He's committed Alabama if he does decide to go to school. In their first mock, BA had the Yanks taking Stryker Trahan, a high school catcher, also a bat first guy. I honestly prefer Trahan out of these, but there is a chance that neither of these guys will be around by the time they have their first pick.

Game 46: Big Bart

(Washington Post)
The Yankees face Bartolo Colon today for the first time since he was on the team last year. I was a huge Bart fan always rooted for him since he had a great story. I'm really happy he was able to pitch again this year. Here's the Yankee lineup he will face:
  1. Derek Jeter, SS
  2. Curtis Granderson, CF
  3. Alex Rodriguez, DH
  4. Robinson Cano, 2B
  5. Mark Teixeira, 1B
  6. Raul Ibanez, LF
  7. Nick Swisher, RF
  8. Eric Chavez, 3B
  9. Chris Stewart, C
And it will be CC Sabathia on the bump. This one will start a little after 4 and can be seen on YES.

Injury Notes

Here are some injury updates on some current Yankees, both majors and minors, currently on the disabled list:
  • David Robertson played catch on Thursday for the first time since straining his oblique and felt fine. The right-hander is currently on a throwing program and will need some minor league rehab before re-joining the team. (Link)
  • Brett Gardner is on schedule to swing a bat on Monday in Tampa. He had an MRI that said the muscle in his elbow was totally healed, but he did have some stiffness a few days ago. (Link)
  • Mark Teixeira's cough is basically all gone. That's definitely good news and hopefully he starts to a hit a little now. (Link)
  • Pat Venditte has a torn labrum in his right shoulder and is currently rehabbing in Tampa to avoid surgery. They'll no more as time goes on. (Link)

Friday, May 25, 2012

Game 45: West Coast

(SB Nation)
I hate west coast games. They force me to stay up later than I really want to and then as a result I have to sleep later the next day and it's just a huge mess. Tonight the Yankees start a six game west coast road trip in which they play the Athletics and Angels. Should be some good games, but should also be annoying. Here's the lineup:

  1. Derek Jeter, SS
  2. Curtis Granderson, CF
  3. Alex Rodriguez, 3B
  4. Robinson Cano, 2B
  5. Mark Teixeira, 1B
  6. Raul Ibanez, LF
  7. Nick Swisher, RF
  8. Eric Chavez, DH
  9. Russell Martin, C
And it will be Phil Hughes on the bump. This one will start a little after 10 and can be seen on YES.

Yankees Sign John Maine

Per Andrew Marchand, the Yankees have signed right-handed pitcher John Maine to a minor league contract. You guys probably know of Maine from his time with the Mets when he was actually a pretty decent pitcher and had two straight years of sub-four ERAs. Since then, injuries have derailed him and he has struggled to find his command. He most recently pitched with the Rockies Triple-A affiliate where he pitched to a 5.78 FIP. He may not help the major league club, but as I said before, I'll take anyone on a minor league deal.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Changing Roles In The Pen

The Yankees bullpen was considered perhaps the team's biggest strength heading into the season. They had Mariano Rivera, David Robertson, and Rafael Soriano, which was as a good of a late game trio as there was around the league and they had middle relief guys like Boone Logan and Cory Wade who were maybe a little underrated. Plus, they had Joba Chamberlain and David Aardsma coming back a some point mid-season. It seemed as though they actually had too many arms back there.

Of course that's not exactly how things have worked out. Rivera had his season-ending knee injury and Joba suffered a huge set back with his ankle injury. To go along with that, David Robertson has suffered an oblique injury which has landed him on the 15-day disabled list and leaves the pen a little bit thin for now.

With this being said, some of the guys back there are going to have to step up. Wade and Logan already have. They've been pitching very well in high-leverage situations and have taken over set up duty. But they can't pitch every night. Guys like Cody Eppley and David Phelps need to play good roles as middle relief guys.

We've seen Joe Girardi go to these two more frequently in late-game situations, and hopefully they can answer the call until Robertson gets back and they have a little more depth. The side-arming Eppley has the ability to get a lot of grounders and Phelps has shown that he can gets guys out all year. With Freddy Garcia handling the mop up role, I'd like to see these two pitch in some tighter situations.

Where Will Jeter Rank On The All-Time Hit List?

With his eighth-inning single to center field, Derek Jeter tied Paul Waner for 16th in the all-time hits category with 3,152. Two more base hits will tie Jeter with George Brett and move the Yankees’ captain into the top 15.

Jeter is clearly off to a solid start in 2012, so I want to take a look at where he may sit among the all-time greats when his career is all said and done.

Of course, this is all hypothetical; it is very possible that Jeter’s age catches up to him and he begins to decline. It is also possible that he maintains this torrid pace throughout the near future. As unlikely as it is, there is still the slightest chance Jeter could start hitting even better than he is now.

With 64 hits in the Yankees’ first 44 games (Jeter missing just one), the shortstop is on pace for about 235 hits, which would top his career high of 219.  At this rate, his career total at the end of this season, 3,323, would rank him ninth all-time.

The shortstop is currently signed through the 2013 campaign, with the Yankees holding the option for 2014. It is way too early to tell for sure if they’ll pick up the option, but let’s assume Jeter is still the everyday shortstop in 2014.

Should Jeter finish 2012 with 235 hits, he will have averaged about 195 hits per season. It is tough to say just how many hits Jeter will rack up throughout 2013 and ’14, so I think this average is a good way to estimate. At the end of ’14, the then-40-year-old’s career total would be at 3,713, good for fourth on the all-time list.

At that amount, Jeter would sit 58 hits behind Hank Aaron, 287 short of 4,000, 476 behind Ty Cobb, and 543 behind record-holder Pete Rose.

It is really tough to say where Jeter’s career would go from there. Assuming the Yankees would still want him and have a spot on the roster reserved for him, so much of these calculations depend on his health, how much longer he wants to play and how much time he spends on the field.

Because of these variables, let’s compare Jeter’s age (38 next month) to the ages of the players ahead of him on the all-time list.

For players at the age of 38, Jeter ranks above all but five players. Only Cobb (3,821), Aaron (3,391), Rose (3,372), Tris Speaker (3,292) and Stan Musial (3,203) accumulated more hits by the age of 38 than Jeter has (3,152). All five of those legends compose the top five of the all-time hits list.

Personally, I don’t think Jeter will break Rose’s record. Jeter is not the kind of player who would prolong his career for the sake of setting records, and he would have to play well into his 40s to top Rose. I think the Yankees would have to go on a title drought for the next few seasons and Jeter would have to be really hungry for a championship for him to continue playing at that age.

But reaching 4,000 hits is not out of the question. If Jeter is willing to play into his early 40s, he could have another accomplishment to add to his Hall of Fame plaque. 

Brett Gardner: The Driving Force Behind the Yankees' Offense?

Has Brett Gardner been the missing piece to this Yankees offense?
It is no secret that the injury bug has severely bitten the New York Yankees this year. Most notably the beast has nabbed pitchers Michael Pineda, Joba Chamberlain, Mariano Rivera and most recently the heir apparent to Rivera; David Robertson. However, the most important loss to the disabled list could be outfielder Brett Gardner.

Gardner is not the all-star and legend that Rivera is. His presence is not as physically imposing or emotionally charging like Pineda or Chamberlain’s. His numbers might not light off the stat sheet like Robertson’s have the past few seasons; but Gardner’s presence to the Yankees could be more important, or at least explain the Yankees offensive struggles.

Gardner is a catalyst for the Yankees offense. As one of the fastest players in baseball, Gardner is an automatic two bases once he gets on.  He stole 47 bases in 2010 and 49 in 2011 ranking him top 4 in baseball both of the last two seasons. Once on base, Gardner possesses the type of speed that is guaranteed to score from second on a single or from first on an extra base hit. In his few professional seasons, Gardner has also become a patient hitter.  He is known as a player who sees a lot of pitches and most importantly gets on base. 

What exactly are the Yankees missing without Gardner? Last season Gardner ranked 22nd in baseball with a 0.66 walk to strikeout ratio and 21st with a .102 walk per plate appearance average. This helps add up to an on-base percentage of .345 which ranked Gardner 32nd in baseball last season. As far as using up the starters pitch count and getting to the bullpen, last season Brett Gardner ranked 7th in baseball, seeing 4.19 pitches per plate appearance. All these stats equate to the most important number of all. In 2011 Brett Gardner helped create 4.92 runs per 27 outs ranking him top 50 in baseball.

This season the Yankees have used a platoon of former starters in Gardner’s role as the everyday left fielder.  However these players have not performed to Gardner’s level of the past few seasons. Raul Ibanez, who has seen most of the time in Gardner’s place, has clearly performed the best of the committee members.  However he currently has an on-base percentage over 20 points lower than Gardner, and neither Ibanez, Andruw Jones nor Dewayne Wise are anywhere near the threat that Gardner is on the bases.  Most importantly, none of the three players are in the top 100 in runs created or runs created per 27 outs. 

In 2011 Brett Gardner only batted .259 with 7 home runs and 36 runs batted in. Those numbers at face value seem quite pathetic. However if there is anything that Billy Beane and the Oakland Athletics have taught us in Moneyball; sabermetrics and on-base percentage is the trend in baseball and what wins games. As a total package few players in the league are better than Gardner at producing runs and earning victories.   

Last night the Yankees showed signs of getting out of their slump with an 8-3 win over the Kansas City Royals, in which Alex Rodriguez homered twice and Curtis Granderson once. On the surface all went well, but that is just the problem. Until Gardner comes back expect the 2012 version of the Yankees to be no different than those from 2001-2008, a lineup loaded with big name players predicated on the big play to score runs. This has proven to be an unreliable formula. At some point in the year the bats will go cold, and the Yankees will be eliminated short of a championship. 

The Yankees recently announced that Brett Gardner may first pick up a bat today.  He is currently on the 15-day DL and is not expected back until some time early to mid June. Until Gardner comes back don’t expect the Yankees to be any kind of championship threat.  There is no slump for a good eye, speed and aggression on the base paths. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Alex Rodriguez and the Yankees' Bats Leave the East Coast With A Punch

Yankees get the win and leave the East Coast on a good note. (Getty)
Andy Pettitte has yet to look like he just came out of retirement as he dominated the strike zone in his third start of the season in the New York Yankees' 8-3 victory over the Kansas City Royals. Alex Rodriguez belted two homeruns in the first three innings of the game to prove the veteran southpaw with an early lead as the Yankees took the series at Yankee Stadium.

Pettitte cruised through his eight innings as 71 of his 98 pitcher were strikes. A lot of those strikes came from his decision to throw more cutters in this start as oppose to his last few. This is something that has been noted of the left-hander and how he has decided to throw less curveballs. 

The Royals struggled to get men on base as Pettitte sat down batters in 1-2-3 fashion four times in the game. Billy Butler and Mitch Maier hit solo homeruns to punish Pettitte, but his offense would carry him. 

Rodriguez was hot in his first two at-bats, but cooled down a bit as he left four runners on base the rest of the game. Curtis Granderson continues to hit solo homeruns as he picked one up in the first inning before Rodriguez. Derek Jeter has been quiet since hit hot surge at the beginning of the year, but went three for five tonight to mark the 271st time in which he's collected three hits in a single game.

Mark Teixeira went 0-2, but showed patience with three walks to come around and score twice. Manager Joe Girardi plugged him back into his usual third slot in the lineup, after hitting in the seventh hole for the last two games. Teixeira has been battling a strong cough all season to add to his struggles at the plate. 

The Yankees may have been 1-6 with runners in scoring position, but they still managed to find a way to score runs and win the ballgame, which is what matters in the standings. After rocking Royal's rookie Will Smith, New York will fly out to California to take on the Oakland Athletics for a three game set. 

As the Yankees "switch" from the East Coast to the West Coast and just took care of a pitcher by the name of Will Smith, this song is just fitting.

Chris Chavez is the Editor-In-Chief of The Stirring Straw. Be sure to follow him on Twitter: @Chris_J_Chavez

Lots Of Links

I didn't get a chance to get my story for today out because I wound up taking a two and a half hour nap (it was awesome), so I'll have to save that for tomorrow. However, there was a lot of good writing out there today so I'll pass along some of the links:
  • Fellow THTer Lucas Apostoleris wrote about Boone Logan's slider from a pitch f/x perspective. I know I wrote something similar last week, but he's a real expert and I suggest you give it a read. He always has good stuff. (Link)
  • Over at Baseball America, JJ Cooper wrote about the development of pitchers and whether teams should be conservative with their young pitchers or let them throw. It's pretty awesome so make sure you check it out. (Link)
  • At Baseball Prospectus, Kevin Goldstein spoke with Scott Boras about the new draft regulations and how they will restrict him going forward and his plans to thwart them. This is something that will become increasingly important in the coming weeks as we get up to the draft. (Link)
  • Lastly, some injury news: Austin Romine will be out until July with an inflamed disk in his back. This really sucks because if he could have played all of this year, he could have made himself a real candidate to be a part of the future starting next year. (Link)

Game 44: Build On It

(Getty Images)
After a few games of having absolutely nothing, the Yankees showed tiny bit of life last night in a 3-2 win. Hopefully, they can build on it and take some momentum on their west coast trip. Let's just pray that the rain holds up:
  1. Derek Jeter, SS
  2. Curtis Granderson, CF
  3. Mark Teixeira, 1B
  4. Alex Rodriguez, 3B
  5. Robinson Cano, 2B
  6. Nick Swisher, RF
  7. Andruw Jones, DH
  8. Russell Martin, C
  9. Jayson Nix, LF
And it will be Andy Pettitte on the bump. This one will start a little after 7 and can be seen on YES.

John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman: Official Assessment

John "The Voice of the Yankees" Sterling
Fangraphs just recently released their broadcaster rankings to which the New York Yankees found themselves at the very bottom of the list. John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman received an overall rating of 2.1 out of 5.0. The New York radio waves are changing and it's time to take a look at the future of the current staff with CBS Radio.

ESPN Radio is the most likely destination for Yankee games to end up for the 2013 season, after the current deal with CBS expires. One of the biggest questions is whether Sterling and Waldman will come along for the move, once it is made. If it comes down to a bidding war between CBS and the ABC owned ESPN, chances are the Yankees will take the bigger option of switching channels.

CBS could sign another one-year deal like they did for 2012 and then move the Yankees to 660AM, the Mets' current channel. ESPN could counter that by moving the Yankees to an FM station, which would be a new venture into clearer broadcasts compared to what remains on AM.

One of the biggest critiques of Sterling is the fact that he constantly says "You just can't predict baseball." It was cool the first few times that he said it, now it's overkill. His homerun calls are becoming more obscure with their references to things that a younger audience does not understand. He's trying to hard now.

His voice and the Sterling shake at the end of ballgames will always be unique. He's been doing his job since 1989, so job security is something that he should not be worried about. His focus should be on making himself more animate on the air. Outside of Yankee fans, Sterling does not appeal to many fans. He's got the base in the tone of his voice, he just has not taken off with the right persona just yet...and it's been 23 years.

Getting rid of Waldman would be a step forward in a positive direction. After the orgasm that ensued after she spotted Roger Clemens in George Steinbrenner's press box to announce his return, that was the final straw. The way that she cried about him was an instant indicator that she thought more about the person that he was and not the athlete. There is not much analysis in her commentary, which would make any sabermetrics junkie an excellent pair for Sterling to digest a ballgame with.

Just please do not laugh on the job, Suzyn. It's very annoying when she cracks up at simple things that Sterling will say. She points out Sterling's mistakes and slip-ups on the air, but does not follow it up properly. Her strength is working on clubhouse reports and if the Yankees decided to be nice enough to keep her employed, that would be a fitting role to limit her to.

Now talking about replacements for Waldman, it's difficult to say what ESPN would see fitting for their spending. David Cone is brilliant on the YES Network, but it is doubtful that he would make the move to an elevated role that would have him traveling more and broadcasting more. Then there are several other candidates that could be pried from other networks, but that step can not be taken with out releasing Waldman. Hank and Hal Steinbrenner have shown they will not hesitate to make a move with little to no emotion attached to how loved a person is in the community.  An end to the Waldman era would be a blessing.

I'm surprised that Andy Pettitte did not bring her as much pleasure, since it was Spring Training.

Two Reasons The Yankees Slow Start Means Nothing

The Yankees are only one game over .500 more than a quarter of the way through the regular season. For many fans, a 22-21 record is a cause for concern. After all, the Bombers have the highest payroll in the league, the most championships of any team in North American history, and play in the most famous city in the United States. This tends to make Yankees fans impatient. The Yankees are currently 4th in a division that seems to be turned upside down (Red Sox and Yankees at the bottom, Orioles at the top)

However, despite the Yankees not-so incredible start, here are two reasons why fans should not fret.

1) Recent History

If there is one thing that the Yankees can hang there hat on, it is that they are a strong second half team. In fact, during the Joe Girardi era (2008-2011), the team has been prone to struggle before Memorial Day. 

Here are the records of those Yankees teams 43 games into the regular season:
2008: 20-23
2009: 25-18
2010: 26-17
2011: 23-20

Still worried? The Yankees have posted similar records the past four years, and have made the postseason in three of them. 

There are no guarantees the Yankees will surge, but there needs to be least some confidence that Girardi can turn this around.

Brave New World: The Orioles and Blue Jays can't keep it going the whole year

Baseball's new playoff format allows two wild cards to make the postseason. Therefore, the Yankees could finish 3rd in the division and still qualify for postseason play. I don't think you could find one baseball expert or analyst that would predict both Toronto and Baltimore will stay ahead of New York.
Luck has helped the
O's and Jays so far this year

Why will one of these teams fall behind New York? Statistical luck.

To an extent, both teams have been "outplaying their true abilities" this year. The Orioles are 20th in on-base percentage (OBP). The Blue Jays are 21st. OBP may be the most utilized offensive statistic in baseball today because it indicates consistency. In other words, the O's and Jays rely too much power (both in the top-15 slugging percentage in the league). If their big hitters are limited to singles, both will have trouble scoring.

The pitching staffs are also lucky this year.  The Blue Jays have four starters with an ERA under 4.00. That is unheard of in the AL East. The Orioles are different. They have 3 pitchers with ERA's over 4.70, yet only one of them has a losing record. For a team averaging just over 4.6 runs a game, it is likely that these pitchers will post losing records. 

Luck is a part of the game, but only when the sample size is too small to truly judge teams. The next three-quarters of the season will show that the stats will "catch up" to Baltimore and Toronto. 

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

If there is one baseball cliche that holds true, it's that a 162 game season evens things out, and the cream of the crop eventually rise. If the Yankees are, in the words of Dennis Green, "who we thought they were", expect the Yankees to still be playing in October.

Are there any other reasons why you believe the Yankees are or are not destined to turn it around?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Yankees Show Some Life in 3-2 Win Over Royals

Robinson Cano with the solo homer in the fourth inning.
The New York Yankees entered Tuesday night's contest against the Kansas City Royals 6 for their last 72 with runners in scoring position. While the lineup knew what they needed to do, Phil Hughes knew his role was to prevent a fourth consecutive loss and he did just that with six innings of solid pitching.

Hughes looked great in the first two innings and in the third inning a hanging curveball was taken out to deep right field for the Royals to take an early 1-0 lead off Humberto Quintero's double. Jeff Francoeur followed that up with a homerun in the fourth inning, but that would be all for damage off the Yankees' starter.

Seven strikeouts through five innings marked another good start for Hughes. He has looked solid in three of his last four starts, with the exception being his last start in Toronto.

Mark Teixeira was three for his last 17 at-bats before he lined a single and reached second on an error by Francoeur. Not only did he set the Yankees up with a runner in scoring position, but he also showed some effort to get himself back up in the lineup after being demoted to seventh for the second straight game.

Russell Martin and Dewayne Wise loaded the bases and Derek Jeter showed some life with a bloop hit into right field to bring around a run. Robinson Cano homered earlier in the game and as Jeter tied the game, New York was still primed for a big inning with no outs.

Curtis Granderson would ground out, but collected an RBI to take the lead. Cano proved that he owns Luke Hochevar and was intentionally walked to bring Alex Rodriguez to the plate. Rodriguez and Raul Ibanez would strike out and the RISP troubles continued.

This hit showed some life and could be a start to RISP hits.
Corey Wade, Boone Logan, Cody Eppley, and Clay Rapada were called from the bullpen to get six outs and they did so with 17 pitches. No harm done and Joe Girardi proved he made the right moves as he turned the ball over to Rafael Soriano for the ninth inning.

A ground rule double with just a one run lead is not the way Soriano wanted his save situation to get started. With two-outs and Alex Gordon on third base, Rodriguez was on his toes defensively and threw to first base for the final out.

There was not a lot of scoring from the Yankees, but it was the right amount to seal a 3-2 victory. The final game of the series is tomorrow and if the bats can get better than they were tonight, they should be in a good position to provide Andy Pettitte with some runs.

Game 43: Just Win

The Yankees have now lost three straight and seven of their last ten. I know the ridiculousness that will go on on Twitter if they lose tonight and go under .500, so please win this one for me. It's just getting old. Here's the lineup:
  1. Derek Jeter, SS
  2. Curtis Granderson, CF
  3. Robinson Cano, 2B
  4. Alex Rodriguez, 3B
  5. Raul Ibanez, DH
  6. Nick Swisher, RF
  7. Mark Teixeira, 1B
  8. Russell Martin, C
  9. Dewayne Wise, LF
And it will be Phil Hughes on the bump. This one will start a little after 7 and can be seen on MY 9.

Minor League Injury Notes

(NY Daily News)
Josh Norris spoke with Nardi Contreras, the Yankees minor league pitching coordinator, and he has some minor league injury updates for us. Here we go:
  • Manny Banuelos was DL'ed with left elbow soreness. He went for an MRI and it came back clean so Contreras says that it's just a tired arm and they're giving him rest. Could have definitely been worse. 
  • Dellin Betances has apparently been pitching with a cracked finger nail which is why his command has been as bad as it has been. I don't really buy it, but hopefully there's some truth to it.
  • Jeremy Bleich is pitching in Extended Spring Training and will pitch as a reliever when he gets back.
  • And lastly, Jose Campos is still resting down in Tampa with that 'elbow discomfort.' Still no timetable on his return.
We should have more later, so look out for that.

Yankees Defense Update

A few weeks ago, I took a look at the Yankees defensive efficiency and where it ranked relative to the rest of the league. As things turned out the team's DE was 0.661 which ranked dead last in all of the MLB. This stat is all about range so this would make sense with Raul Ibanez and Andruw Jones playing a lot over the course of the first month and a half. There is also the small sample to take into consideration. Here's the latest look (via Baseball Prospectus):

Considering Cody Ransom

Would the Yankees be open to seeing this again?
The Arizona Diamondbacks designated 36-year old infielder Cody Ransom for assignment on Monday afternoon. Ransom played for the New York Yankees for 64 games combined between 2008 and 2009. His athletic versatility makes him a useful bench player that can be called on for defense in the infield. As the Yankees drop to last place in the American League East, Ransom's name could be one to be considered to try and get this team right.

Eric Chavez and Jayson Nix come off the Yankees' bench for utility infielder roles. Chavez has been playing very well at third base, Alex Rodriguez needs a day off or is lated to be designated hitter. In a small sample for 2012, Chavez is proving he made the right decision not to retire and contribute to the Yankees with an .806 OPS and three homeruns among his 17 hits. He does not walk much, but finds a way to get himself on the base paths.

On the other hand, Jayson Nix's only bright spots came against the Seattle Mariners and the Cincinnati Reds. In the Seattle match-up, he snapped a hitless streak of over 20 at-bats that dated back to 2011. He homered in the New York victory and he would do the same May 19th at Yankee Stadium. He collected three hits and two RBI's, but the Yankees fell short 6-5 to the Reds.

Nix stuggles to put the ball in play and is a real hole in the lineup. Ransom brings the same defensive skills as Nix and more of a bat. In 17 games, he has been swinging the bat very well slugging 4 homeruns and thirteen RBI's. A batting average of .269 (14 for 52) leads one to wonder whether the Diamondbacks may have just let a quality role player go.

At 36 years old, he may be a gamble but it could be worth a look. The Yankees are having trouble scoring with runners in scoring position. The Diamondbacks found themselves in a similar position earlier in the year and Ransom contributed by hitting .273 with runners on-base. In 23 at-bats with RISP, he's collected 8 RBI's. A cheap option and look would not hurt the Yankees, because there is no where else to go but upwards in the standings.

A Sub-Subway Series?

Something interesting was brought to my attention a few days ago by Newsday’s David Lennon.

When the Houston Astros jump from the NL Central to the AL West next season, the MLB will need to re-work interleague scheduling. What makes this interesting to me is the fact that “natural rivalries” (for example, the Yankees-Mets, Cubs-White Sox, Angels-Dodgers, other teams that share states) could potentially be in jeopardy.

Every year, the Yankees and Mets play six games against each other- three at Yankee Stadium and three at Citi Field. These games are great for both the MLB and the state of New York. The matchups create trash-talking opportunities for fans of both squads and produce plenty of revenue for the league.

However, these moneymaking competitions also create a scheduling imbalance. While the crosstown rivals annually square off against each other in two separate three-game sets, the Yankees will play the Braves six times this season, with a three-game series in Washington in between. The Mets already played three at Toronto this season and will go to Tampa Bay in the middle of June.

Because of the six-game tradition, the Yankees will not play the Phillies or Marlins during the regular season and the Mets will not face Boston or Baltimore.

For contrast, the Red Sox are scheduled to face every NL East team with the exception of the Mets, and the Phillies’ schedule includes every AL East team except for the Yankees. This is where the imbalance lies- the Yanks and Mets are not facing the same competition their divisional rivals are.

As Lennon states in his column, there is a possibility of reducing the Subway Series rematches to three games a year, alternating boroughs each year. More recently, there is reportedly a push for at least four games, two at each stadium.

Personally, I’d prefer to see six games each season between the crosstown rivals because of the competition that stirs between the fans we live among.

On the other hand, what’s fair is fair. If the league does decide to cut out a few of these games out in order to construct a balanced and fair schedule, I won’t argue with it. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Yanks Continue To Stink, Fall To .500

Basically describes the night. (Getty Images)
This game was so bad that it doesn't even deserve a full recap. Here's the box score. This team is now down to .500, is tied for last place with the Red Sox, and only has a run differential of +1. These first 42 games haven't exactly gone as planned, so hopefully they pick it up soon. Something needs to give.


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