Help is on the way

Bad timing killing the Yanks
From the bench, pressing all the wrong buttons
(AP Photo/Mel Evans)

It’s nearly impossible to look at anything in a positive light given how awful the last week-and-a-half have gone for the Yankees, but if there’s any good news, it’s this: Help is on the way. A trio of maybe not frontline players, but highly productive secondary pieces are returning from various injuries very soon, and that could be the boost the Yanks need to get out of this hideous slump.

Right now, the one return that is set in stone is that of Andy Pettitte, who is scheduled to start on Sunday in Baltimore. He’s been out since mid-July with a groin injury, and it’s pretty amazing how the rotation really started to fall apart once he went down. Of course, Pettitte’s injury had nothing to do with the deterioration of Javy Vazquez‘s stuff or A.J. Burnett‘s consistent inconsistency, but it certainly factored into Dustin Moseley making seven starts with a 5.03 ERA and .853 OPS against. If nothing else, Pettitte’s return will stabilize at least one rotation spot and push guys like Moseley and Vazquez into lesser roles, always a good thing.

Pettitte’s return will help the rotation, but two outfielders are due back from injuries soon as well. Both Nick Swisher (knee) and Brett Gardner (wrist) received cortisone shots earlier in the week and are expected to be back sometime this weekend. There’s no concrete return date for either, but the Yanks played it extra cautiously and gave each player ample rest with the idea of having them back for the Orioles series.

The return of Swisher and Gardner means no more Austin Kearns and Colin Curtis, which will be music to everyone’s ears. Even if Swish and Gardy come back and struggle a little bit, 75% of them is still greater than the production the Yanks are getting out of their left and rightfielders right now. They lengthen the lineup and at the very least will put together better at-bats even if the end results are the same. Both will take pitches, foul balls off and make pitchers work, something Kearns and Curtis fail to do basically each time up these days. The automatic outs will be gone at long last.

It’s going to take a whole lot more than the return of these three players to right the Yankees’ ship, but it’s certainly going to help expedite the process. Or so I hope. The players that are and have been healthy certainly need to improve their production with men on base when they have a chance to tack on runs, and the other starters (except CC Sabathia) need to be more efficient and give the team length. Pettitte, Swish, and Gardy aren’t going to come out of a phone booth with their Superman outfits on and cure all of the team’s ills, but that’s three above-average players the Yanks will have at their disposal that they don’t right now.

Bad timing killing the Yanks
From the bench, pressing all the wrong buttons
  • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

    I’d describe Pettitte, Gardner, and Swisher as all “frontline” players. All three have had All-Star worthy seasons this year (while healthy).

    • Mike HC

      I could have just agreed with this I guess. If I had read it before posting.

    • theyankeewarrior


      I’ve said this 100 times and I’ll say it again, the Yankees’ “A-Team” is significantly better than it’s “B team”.

      The difference between Pettitte/Swisher/Gardner vs. Moseley/Curtis/Kearns is enormous.

      As frustrating as this team has been over their last 10 games, we all need to remember that there is no way in hell (barring a couple significant injuries) that this team will be the one we see come October.

      When we put our best lineup and starters out there, the Yankees are easily the best team in baseball, they just need to execute.

    • Matt DiBari

      I agree. When I read that description I assumed something had changed radically with Aceves or something. If those three aren’t frontline players, they’re certainly close.

  • bexarama

    Mmmm Pettitte looks like some kind of superhero in that picture, that’s for sure.

    (Seriously guys, hurry back. :( )

    • Gary Sanchez

      Those clouds don’t look to pleasant. It looks as if it is calm before the storm, and as soon as Pettitte rips off his jacket all hell will break loose.

      • bexarama

        Hey, Maquinito!

        (You should not be talking about Andy taking off clothing around me. That’s probably a bad idea.)

        • RL

          And he’s expected to give the Yankees “length”! Bet that gets you really excited!

          (I’ll refrain from adding the other thought I had on this subject)

    • Brian in NH

      seriously he does. I can’t wait. I want him to be absolutely brilliant when he returns. he doesn’t need to go 9 innings with double digit strike outs, but 6-7 (it is his first start back from injury against major league hitters) of zero or one run ball would be music to my ears, eyes, nose, throat, etc.

  • Mike HC

    I think you are underselling the Pettitte, Gardner, Swisher trio. All three of them have played like legitimate all stars this year. Pettitte was in the Cy Young talk before getting injured too. Losing those three was a huge loss and getting them back will also be huge.

  • Zanath

    Let’s kill some birds this weekend. A sweep would be lovely.

    • theyankeewarrior

      Seriously. Would a sweep of Baltimore be too much to ask for? With AJ, Andy, CC, I have to think that anything less than 3-0 would be a disappointment.

      • Zanath

        Well I will take 2 out of 3 happily. But 3-0 would be way more ideal. What I won’t accept is the O’s sweeping us or taking the series.

        • Matt DiBari

          I think after this past ten days we need to sweep. Enough of this Buck crap. The Yankees are just *better* than Baltimore.

          • Zanath

            Exactly. The Orioles are the ones that really started this slide (yeah I know the losing streak started with the loss to Toronto, but those O’s games are the ones that really started the free fall), I’m hoping they will be the ones to get us back on the right track.

    • king of fruitless hypotheticals

      Who are the Orioles? I thought we were playing the Fightin’ Showalters this weekend.

      • Steve H

        Who are the Orioles? I thought we were playing the Fightin’ Showalters who have nothing to lose this weekend.

  • seimiya

    I’m not gonna lie, I would so some pretty terrible/embarrassing/regrettable things for Swish, Andy and Gardy in superhero customers.


    • seimiya

      would do* some pretty terrible things. Sigh. Mental images are distracting.

  • Pete

    “Pettitte, Swish, and Gardy aren’t going to come out of a phone booth with their Superman outfits on and cure all of the team’s ill”

    that’s what you think

  • Chris

    It’s going to take a whole lot more than the return of these three players to right the Yankees’ ship

    I’m not so sure it would take more. They’ve lost 5 one run games in their last 10 games. It doesn’t take much to get over that hump.

    • tom

      …and it seemed like every would-be rally died because they came down to a pathetic at-bat by one of the replacement outfielders. It’s hard not to picture Swisher putting the ball at least in the outfield air, rather than whiffing on three pitches the way Kearns did repeatedly.

  • Yank the Frank

    Even though Buck has the Birds playing better, Baltimore is still a good team to have Swisher, Gardner and Pettitte work off the rust. The three amigos should be in good shape for the re-match against the Rays next week.

  • chaz2010

    The injuries to Pettite, Swisher and Gardner have shown what poor depth this team has. I am surprised Cashman hasn’t taken more heat for this.

    From a championship team he traded away (or let walk away) Damon, Matsui, Cabrera, Hairston, Hinske, Jackson, Coke and Kennedy. That’s 3 outfielders, 2 excellent bench players, a major league ready outfield rookie, a lefty reliever and a major league ready young starter. So there goes the Yankees’ depth. This is why you have garbage like Kearns and Curtis playing these games and mediocrities like Thames and Moseley getting major time. mMybe the results would have been the same this week. But as a Yankee fan I would have felt a lot better if Jackson was filling in for Swisher and Kennedy was filling in for Pettitte. Those guys could have had a future here. Kearns, Moseley, etc do not.

    And in return? Since I don’t see Vazquez making the post season roster, you have 3 off season acquisitions making the post season roster: Granderson, Thames and Logan.

    Great job Cash.

    • Steve H

      I laughed.

    • Hughesus Christo

      Austin Kearns, kerry Wood, and Lance Berkman – Absolute dreck. No depth! Give me Hairston or give me death!!!

      • Ross in Jersey

        I, for one, endorse GIVE ME HAIRSTON OR GIVE ME DEATH! as a new rallying cry.

    • bexarama

      This entire thing is pretty crazy but it’s funny that you say, like, Kennedy could’ve had a future here. Kennedy’s future here was basically just what you said: filling in for guys who get injured. That’s actually not much of a future at all. They thought they could get something of better value than that, and they did.

      Also, once it became clear Damon wasn’t coming back, the team wasn’t going to go into the season with an outfield of Swisher and then three of Melky, Gardner (who wasn’t proven), and AJax (not proven at all). Just not how the Yankees work, frankly.

      Oh and I know we’re all very argh ragh ragh about Kearns right now, but he’s no more “garbage” than Jerry Hairston Jr.

      • Not Tank the Frank


        Kearns 2010 w/ Yankees: .304 wOBA
        Hairston 2010 w/ Padres: .289 wOBA

        Everyone’s down on Kearns b/c he’s striking out like it’s going out of style lately, but in a perfect world, he’s coming off the bench for one AB to hit a lefty or spell Swisher for a game or two here and there. These guys are bench players. Push them into full-time duty and you’ll see less than what you were expecting. It doesn’t matter if it’s Kearns, Hairston, Hinske, or whoever.

        • chaz2010

          Hairston 2009: Had a couple of big hits and defensive plays to win a couple of games in August. Started the rally and scored the winning run in game 2 of ALCS
          Kearns 2010: Nothing as of yet, but the story of this season has yet to be written. Would be overjoyed and pleasantly surprised if he contributed in October, but not holdong my breath.

          But you are right, without Gardner and Swisher they are in trouble this year no matter who you put out there.

          • Steve H

            And what about Jerry Hairston’s performance made you think he would perform in October? (you know, since he was worse than Kearns). Did he just ooze teh clutch!!11!!1! to you?

            • Zack

              Because he was gritty and Kearns isn’t?

              • It’sATarp

                he did that amazing play where he made the angels commit an error to win the game. i mean his presence on the base path obviously forced the angels to make the error

          • It’sATarp

            remember when kearns had that 10 game hit streak? yea…him and the team stepped up when arod was out…off course they go into a slump right after but that’s just baseball

          • bexarama

            Hairston 2009: Had a couple of big hits and defensive plays to win a couple of games in August.

            He did? I love me some JHJ but people are acting like he was the spark of the 2009 Yankees. He really wasn’t. He was a great bench player who didn’t get overexposed.

            He also killed Andy Pettitte’s perfect game. Murdered it, like A-Rod and Jeter murdered baseball history.

            • chaz2010

              Sorry to have unleashed all the Jerry Hairston haters of the world. He was just a small part of a point I was making about bad offseason moves.

              Don’t off days suck? Let’s move on.

      • kosmo

        IPK – 9 W 9 L 3.87 ERA 179 IP 150 SO Whip 1.20 that is nothing to sneeze at for essentially his 1st full season in the bigs.
        He´s outpitched AJ and Javey.OK all the bullshit now about pitching in the weak NL West .
        IPK was given away along with the frontrunner for the AL ROY award in AJax and a pretty damn good LHRP in Coke for Granderson ?
        Yanks could have gotten along without Granderson who has been for the most part a huge disappointment.He was worthless for the first 5 months of the season .If you view this trade as it stands right now you can say it was a mistake.As yet the gamble really doesn´t appear to have paid off.
        In my opinion I really don´t see how you could characterize NY as getting a “better value“.What upside does Granderson have that compares favorably to 3 players having better seasons at their respective positions.Granderson is what he is a .250 hitter CF who if you´ve noticed has been in a semi platoon role.
        The above poster refers to the future as the D-Backs now hold IPKs and the Tigers AJAX.
        Cashman is a clown .

        • Steve H

          OK all the bullshit now about pitching in the weak NL

          I stopped reading here.

        • bexarama

          is kosmo your first name? If so…

          Also hindsight is fun, ain’t it? And saying AJax is the frontrunner for the AL ROY is more a comment on how sad ROY candidates are this year in the AL than Jackson’s awesomeness even if, don’t get me wrong, he’s having a nice season. But still, you put him in the NL, he’s not really in the conversation.

        • It’sATarp

          If actually took time to look up some real numbers that actually mean something you’ll know you are wrong. IPK would basically play the role of Ivan Nova. If you are going to tell me playing the Dodgers, Padres and giants is the same as playing the Rays, red sox and jays…then quit watching baseball and go register yourself to a mental intuition. his 4.30 xFIP means basically doing the same as hughes…except Hughes is doing this in the AL east.

          now here’s some other food for thought. Javy from may to had an ERA in the 3.20’s which was second best for our starters outside of CC. And in that period we had an implosive AJ, a regressing hughes and Andy got injured. As bad as the guy has pitched recently, he actually stabilized our rotation for 3 months having that number 2 guy who was eating up innings. Sure his record didn’t show it but that was more due the Yankees’ lack of run support.

          Second on the topic of the GREAT Phil Coke. he sucked last year if you forgot. Two home runs in the WS which put us in a hole we couldn’t climb out of vs Cliff Lee. and was a pretty avg LOOGY who was very home run prone (10 hrs in 50+ innings is terrible for a reliever) the only reason he has good numbers this year is the luck he has had on fly balls at a 1.4% hr per fly ball…that is not b/c he;s pitching well, but more due to luck and the fact he;s playing in an OF where it takes almost 400+ ft to hit a HR. His WHIP is at 1.33 which is also bad for a reliever meaning he’s getting guys on base at a crazy rate and basically living on the edge. A 4.50 xFIP basically says he will not repeat this season again, and has been well lucky this year. plus he was easily replaced by boone Logan

          On to the point of Grandy vs Ajax which is beaten to death. Ajax is a single hitter who strikes out a lot and is over preforming this year with a high BABIP which me most likely can not repeat. In terms of value Ajax is at 3.4 WAR and Grandy is at (gasp) 3.3 WAR. Basically in terms of value we lost nothing. what ajax has in BABIP-inflated single hitting avg Grandy has made up in power and Superior defense. If you also haven’t noticed Grandy has picked up since his slow start to the season. .255/.335/.495 post all star game which is nothing to scoff at. And he’s been even better since the swing revamp. So for an “off year” from grandy he has still produced a lot for this team and has matched AJax who has been having an over the top year. And with work in the off season, he might be even better next season.

          so in summary…you are wrong

    • pat

      Lol, we have no depth yet we lost all those people and are a half game out of first place having just lost a bunch of winnable 1 run games.

      Ooooooook dude.

  • massapequa parking

    Which “frontline” manager is going to replace Girardi?

    • Zanath

      Can we stop blaming Girardi? Yes, he’s made some bone-head moves (bunting 3-0? Come on.) but he’s not the sole reason we’ve stranded all these runners. He’s played a role in some of these losses no doubt, but Girardi can do only so much.

      • chaz2010

        Agreed- Girardi should be the last one blamed for anything. He’s done a great job, they have 88 wins and will probably win 95-98. This with injuries to Arod And Posada and jeter having a bad year, and only one reliable starter since July. He’s done a great job with the 25 man roster he has to work with, and that is what managing is. Personnel (or lack thereof) is the job of the front office. Execution is the job of the players. Girardi would finish second if I had a vote for manager of the year (behind Gardenhire)

    • Thomas

      Who would you want to replace Girardi? How many frontline managers are there, let alone available ones?

      Just counting through the big name manager there are Leyland (under contract), Pinella (retiring), Cox (retiring), Torre (obviously not coming back, Showalter (under contract), LaRussa (available), and Bobby Valentine (available).

      I definitely don’t want to see LaRussa. Is Bobby V any better than Girardi? Is really any manager going to do a significantly better job than Girardi? Probably not, lets just stick with Girardi overall he has been very good.

  • Sir Not-Appearing-In-This-Blog

    “Help is on the way” made me think of this classic Kevin Garnett quote:

    “I’m loadin’ up the pump. I’m loadin’ up the Uzi. I got a couple M-16s, a couple 9s. I got a couple joints with some silencers on them. I’m just loading clips, a couple grenades. I got a missile launcher with a couple of missiles. I’m ready for war.”

  • CBean

    help us Andy-wan kenobi. You’re our only hope

  • AndrewYF

    So does that magic number mean that any combination of 11 Yankee wins and Red Sox losses turns into a postseason berth?

    Shit, the Yankees can take care of that by themselves with 6 games left against the Sox. All they really have to do is win 1 or 2 of those games and that 1% chance the Sox have is pretty much gone.

    Hey, at least it makes for a somewhat exciting September.

    • king of fruitless hypotheticals

      y’all can hate me for it, as i’m about to make a very non-purist statement:

      i don’t want excitement, i want gloating.

      i’d rather win 113 than what we have now…

    • Zanath

      Yes, that’s exactly what it is.

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      From Gordon Edes at ESPN Boston (yes, you heard me):

      Thus, as a public service, we offer you this chart of what it would take for the Sox to overtake the Yankees in the last 2½ weeks of the season.

      If Yankees go 11-5, they clinch a playoff spot, regardless of what the Sox do.
      If Yankees go 10-6, Sox must go 16-0 to tie.
      If Yankees go 9-7, Sox must go 15-1 to tie.
      If Yankees go 8-8, Sox must go 14-2 to tie.
      If Yankees go 7-9, Sox must go 13-3 to tie.
      If Yankees go 6-10, Sox must go 12-4 to tie.
      If Yankees go 5-11, Sox must go 11-5 to tie.
      If Yankees go 4-12, Sox must go 10-6 to tie.

      So, even if the Yankees lost all six games they have left with the Red Sox, if they split their remaining 10 games against other opponents, the Sox would have to go 11-5 just to tie (which would include those 6 wins over New York).

      • Hughesus Christo

        And YES continues to cut into the Yankees’ game to update the Red Sox score.

  • Cecala

    Ah I get it, Pettitte looks like superman ripping open his shirt to save the world!

  • Big Stein


  • Nice