Sabathia stellar again in win over Rays

Update: Gardner re-strains elbow muscle, shut down for ten days
Mailbag: Peavy, Mustelier, Jeter, Teixeira, Mo

It’s kinda hard to believe, but the Yankees were one bad David Robertson inning away from sweeping the Rays in this three-game set. They’ll have to settle for taking two of three as CC Sabathia manhandled Tampa Bay for eight innings in the 5-3 win.

(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

X+1

Having to beat the other team is hard enough, but having to beat your own team as well is damn near impossible. We’ll talk about Eduardo Nunez‘s defensive adventures in just a second, but all you need to know right now is that they led to a pair of unearned runs in the first and second innings and cost Sabathia something like 10-20 extra pitches. That’s rough.

After the second inning though, CC was untouchable. He retired 18 of the next 22 batters he faced including eight via strikeout. Rays’ batters swung and missed 16 times at his 119 pitches, a season-high for both swings and misses and total pitches. Sabathia recorded 22 of his 24 outs on the infield, and this was his fourth consecutive start of exactly eight innings. The opponents during those four starts: the Rangers, Tigers, Royals, and Rays. Those clubs can hit a little.

There are a lot of reasons to love Sabathia, but I think my favorite is that whenever I think he has X innings left in the tank, he goes X+1. In the sixth inning I thought he had one inning left, but he had two. That’s what I’m talking about. The Yankees’ bullpen was a little short because of the recent workload, but as usual CC picked up the slack and gave his team a ton of high-quality outings. Considering how shaky the first two innings were, the big man deserves a ton of credit for going eight. He was awesome.

Eduardo Scissorhands

Wide left. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Nunez’s defense is a very real problem and it has been since last season, and we’re starting to reach the point where waiting around for him to straighten himself out is no longer an option. In the first inning it was a muffed routine grounder with two outs that extended the inning and in the second it was a routine throw to second that wound up in right field and again extended the inning. A big leaguer can’t be doing that stuff, not when they provide relatively little on offense. Tampa tried laying down some bunts towards Eduardo after the second error, but fortunately they couldn’t get any of them down.

Girardi said after the game that they’re going to re-evaluate the way they use Nunez at so many different positions in an effort to get his defense up to snuff, but that won’t be a quick process. Something’s gotta give though, they can’t keep running him out there like this. I mean, they lifted him for a defensive replacement in the sixth (!) inning. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a player pulled for defense that early. Nunez should be legit embarrassed.

Answering Back

Eduardo’s errors put the Yankees in a two-run hole pretty early, but the mostly dormant offense started to wake up in the bottom of the second. Curtis Granderson got it all started with a leadoff homer to deep right, the third time he’s taken David Price deep in his career. No other left-handed batter has homered off Price more than once.

That was just the start of the game tying rally. Nunez began to redeem himself two batters later by working the count full and drawing a walk before stealing second. That’s when Chris Stewart single him in, his fourth run-scoring hit of the season. Chris Stewart people, this is really happening. The Yankees had a chance to add more runs after Derek Jeter drew a walk, but Nick Swisher hit a line drive right back to Price. He saved his face/caught the ball and flipped over to first for the double play. That’s just bad luck, but at least the Yankees were able to knot things up before long.

(Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

Welcome Back, Robinson

It’s been a slow and frustrating start to the season for Robinson Cano, but he started to show some signs of life in Kansas City and seemed to announce his triumphant return to awesomeness against the Rays on Thursday. His first hit of the day was a hotshot ground ball single back up the middle, his second another hard hit ground ball back up the middle, and his third a mammoth two-run homer over the home bullpen and into the right field bleachers to break a 2-2 tie. All three hits came off a very tough left-hander in Price, which is exactly what we like to see. Robbie went 3-for-4 overall and extended his hitting streak to eight games. His season batting line now sits at .286/.331/.437. He’s getting there.

Leftovers

(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

With Robertson unavailable due to his recent workload, ninth inning duties fell on the shoulders of Rafael Soriano. Pitching for the third straight day, Soriano allowed a cheap run — infield single, defensive indifference, ground ball, ground ball — in an otherwise uneventful inning, his first save of the season. He’s still searching for that elusive first 1-2-3 inning of the year, but honestly I don’t care right now. Props to Soriano for getting those last three outs despite his pitching for the third time in as many days.

Andruw Jones doubled in the team’s fifth and final run in the fifth, a laser into the left field corner with two outs off Price. It seemed like the Yankees were going to squander another rally before he picked up Granderson, who’d grounded into a double play one batter earlier. Jones also appeared to hurt his hamstring(s) running out a ground ball earlier on the night — he was shown grabbing at the back of his legs — but apparently he was just fixing his sliding pants. He remained in the game until Dewayne Wise replaced him for defense in the late innings.

You know who’s very quietly hitting the snot out of the ball? Alex Rodriguez. He went 2-for-4 with a double on Thursday night, raising his season batting line to .287/.388/.443. The power numbers aren’t what they used to be, but that’s a damn productive hitter. Alex is hitting .329/.427/.514 in his last 82 plate appearances, dating back to mid-April.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings

MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs the nerd score, and ESPN the updated standings.


Source: FanGraphs

Up Next

The Yankees welcome Jesus Montero, Hector Noesi, and the rest of the Mariners to the Bronx for a three-game series starting Friday night. Hiroki Kuroda and Felix Hernandez square off in the opener. RAB Tickets can help get you in the building if you want to see the King.

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Update: Gardner re-strains elbow muscle, shut down for ten days
Mailbag: Peavy, Mustelier, Jeter, Teixeira, Mo
  • Sansa

    Once Chavez comes back he should be A-Rod’s caddy. Nunez shouldn’t play 3rd anymore except when absolutely necessary. He should occasionally back up Jeter and if they want his bat in the lineup they can DH him vs lefties and play Jones in LF.

    The good pitching should continue vs the punchless Mariners. I expect Hiroki to bounce back with a great performance. We tagged Verlander, Shields and Price so we should have no problem with King Felix.

    • Havok9120

      Agree totally on Chavez/Nunez. Limit him to SS and 2B with emergency outfield duties. Heck, maybe even only SS if Nix can play 2nd (if he stays on the roster for the rest of Gardner’s DL stint.

    • Brian in NH

      Yeah but can Chavez stay healthy enough to even do that? the man got a concussion and whiplash making a play we see at least one major leaguer make every night.

  • Brian S.

    I’m with you on Nunez, but I think it’s funny that Jeter gets a pass. Captain Sure Hands couldn’t get to a groundball that would have been a routine play for almost any other shortstop and his double clutch put a runner on first in the ninth inning.

    • Lib

      Uh oh. Jeter’s hit a bit of a slump. Time for the ‘cute’ nicknames and bitterness again!

      As things are though, if Nunez was actually a good hitter, he wouldn’t get as much crap as he does for his lack of glove. Since he’s not, the fact that he’s an epic disaster on defense is simply unacceptable.

      • Don’tcha Know?

        He’s not a bad hitter, though. Not spectacular, by any means, but he certainly can hit the ball with authority . . .

        • Brian S.

          He’s a decent hitter for a middle infielder. All I was pointing out is that Nunez is the only one that is ever criticized for errors, even when others make them in the same game.

          • Havok9120

            Nunez should be in his defensive prime. Jeter muffed one ball he normally doesn’t, and we all know his range isn’t good. Heck, it was never stellar to begin with and no one’s expecting to improve in his age 37 season.

          • LarryM.,Fl.

            Brian if you consider the amount of opportunities Nunez gets and the errors, he is a poor defender. But I do like the offensive punch. Maybe they expanded his defensive assignments because of his athletic abilities which can be unfair at the ML level. As mentioned above keep him as a middle infielder with emergency duties in OF.

      • Brian S.

        U mad?

        • Preston

          Derek Jeter get’s a pass because he has a career fielding percentage of .976, he’s not error prone. Nunez has a career fielding percentage of .936 at 3B and .929 at SS, that’s very error prone. Everybody has errors. So it’s no use crying over them when they happen. Unless they happen so often that the player shouldn’t be allowed to field anymore. Unless Nunez starts to show improved consistency then he should be sent down or traded.

        • Jim Is Bored

          Grow up

    • OMG! Bagels!

      It’s called a track record. Not a perfect record.

  • Manny’s BanWagon

    Nunez has to go. He’d have to hit like Babe Ruth to make up for his Butchery in the field.

  • vin

    All hail CC. That is all.

    • Matthew

      Yes! After Mo’s injury I’ve decided not to take anyone for granted. Imagine what a nightmare it would be if we woke up to the news that CC had gotten into some freak accident like D-Rob did.

      • Havok9120

        The worst (best?) part of that is that its been true since we signed him. He’s the single most important piece on the entire team and has been for 3 years.

        • I am not the droids you’re looking for…

          Exactly. He may be relatively fairly paid based on things like WAR but in general it feels like he’s the bargain of the century. (I hope I’m still saying that 5 years from now!)

          • CC

            Could not agree more. He has been everything the Yankees could possibly have asked for. Feels like he’s starting that absolutely unhittable stretch that he went through last year. He is just a total monster and work horse and [insert your own adjective]. I know the 5-0 doesn’t really matter but it would be really sweet for him to win a Cy Young as a Yankee so hopefully that’ll help.

    • flamingo

      This. What a satisfying game.

  • Don’tcha Know?

    I don’t know what it is but I am a BIG fan of Chris Stewart right now. Maybe it’s the whole underdog element, the fact that nothing at all was expected from him . . . Nice story. Happy for the guy.

    • chmch

      He’s a class guy. He already looks like the Yankee uniform fits, which for a lot of guys, it never does, no mater how long they are with the club.

  • Matthew

    Good game!

    I could understand playing Nunez if he was a good hitter, but he’s not. I think his problem is that he’s not great in any part of his game, even baserunning. When he’s on base I feel like there’s a high chance he’ll get picked off or that he’ll make some weird baserunning decision. That’s just anecdotal mind you, I don’t know if that can be backed up with numbers, maybe I’m completely wrong on that one.

    Anyway, he’s not a good defender, and he’s not a good offender (?) so I’m a bit mystified as to why he’s hanging around, especially after those rumors that some teams wanted him, like the Phillies. (After it came out that the Phillies wanted A.J., I’m pretty sure you could trade them anything and they would accept it.) Also, should I be entertaining the notion that Chris Stewart is a better catcher than Martin both defensively and offensively or am I just seeing a mirage there at the plate?

    • CBR

      “I think his problem is that he’s not great in any part of his game, even baserunning.”

      HUH??? One of the few things he can do right is run bases. Did you watch the game last night?

  • Bartolo’s Colon

    nice series overall, wish we could have had all three. cc was the man. im watching the replay on yes (damn work deadlines) and i will say that watching nunie make those errors was not nearly as frustrating as it was when i saw them the first time around. seriously, how is his defense so bad after playing for so long, it’s not like he cant get to the ball, i guess just a lot of mental mistakes.

  • Ted Nelson

    Hpw long you been waiting to write that Mike? Guy had 2 errors going into the game. He had a rough night with the errors, but you make it seem like this has been going on all season. Fangraphs had him rated as a positive defender coming into the night. And he’s played 5 different positions for them. One bad game an you jump all over the guy.

    Not to mention 3 times on base in 3 PAs and 2 SBs… But he doesn’t provide much offensively. Backup middle IFs who can hit grow on trees.

    • Get Phelps Up (formerly Freddy Garcia’s 86 mph Heat)

      …but you make it seem like this has been going on all season.

      It has.

      • Ted Nelson

        He had as many errors on the night as the season coming into the night. His defensive metrics were positive coming into the night. How exactly has it been going on all season?

        Last season, yes. This season, no.

        • Need Pitching

          150 innings of UZR data is completely meaningless
          not all misplays get scored errors, he’s had a lot more than 2 misplays this season
          he would have had 3 errors had Joe Torre not interceded

          • Spiff

            6 innings of data is even more completely meaningless. He’s obviously not a plus defender but lets not slaughter him yet because of an admittedly awful, brutal day in the field.

            • Need Pitching

              I’m not. I’m slaughtering him for over a year of awful defense.

              • I am not the droids you’re looking for…

                This. Minimizing last night because it was only 6 innings (two little league plays in ONLY 6 innings!!) is preposterous. He is horrible in the field and we have ample evidence of same stretching back a season.

                Said another way, this SSS is not an aberration, rather it’s a perfect representation of who and what he is as a fielder.

                • Cris Pengiucci

                  While I don’t believe he’s not as bad as he showed in the 6 innings last night, I think based on the past 1.5 years, it’s fair to say he’s not good defensively overall. Yes, it’s tough being thrown out there at 3B one night, LF another and 2nd or SS at other times, but he is a professional and in order to contribute successfully to this club on an ongoing basis, he needs to do better.

                  I love his speed on the bases and he can contribute some with the bat (certainly more than Ramiro Pena showed), but not enough to make up for he defensive lapses so far.

                  • Cris Pengiucci

                    I don’t believe he’s not as bad

                    Fixed.

                • Ted Nelson

                  Small sample sizes are never a good representation. He could go the next month with no errors or could commit 5 in the next week. Need Pitching argued that the entire season up to last night was not a valid sample… yet somehow 6 extra innings make it a valid sample? This is nothing more than a confirmation bias witch hunt.

                  Somehow reaching base 3 times in 3 PAs and stealing 2 bases in 2 attempts in the same game has been completely ignored. His wOBA is not at .338 on the season. It’s too early in the season and in his career to make any definitive judgements. The errors are a problem and likely will continue to be, but it’s a matter of what he brings overall vs. the alternatives.

                  • Ted Nelson

                    Actually, they can be a good representation… I should say they should never be used as predictive.

                    And 2 errors in 6 innings is not at all representative of Nunez, btw.

                    • Need Pitching

                      he only played 5 innings
                      I didn’t say 2 errors in one game is representative of Nunez, but 1 error every 30-40 or so innings is representative of Nunez, and that is awful, and I’m not basing anything on his sample size this year, I’m basing it over his career, he was awful last year, and he has continued to be awful defensively this year.
                      I never said the season up to yesterday wasn’t a valid sample. I said UZR over that sample size is meaningless. It’s still meaningless if you include yesterday’s game. If you think his 2 errors entering yesterday’s game were his only misplays of the season, you are deluding yourself. He was shaky this season even before yesterday. And apparently the manager agrees, seeing as yesterday was not the first time Nunez was removed for a defensive replacement.

                      Keep making your straw man arguments if it makes you feel better. Saying somebody is a horrible defender after 25 errors in only 977 career IF innings isn’t a “confirmation bias witch hunt”, it’s reality. He doesn’t pass the error test. He doesn’t pass the eye test. Of course the total package is what counts. My point is he’s going to have to hit a helluva a lot better than he has so far to offset his terrible defense. Carrying a utility infielder that needs a defensive replacement is ridiculous. Maybe Nunez can develop into a useful player in time, but for now, his complete lack of reliability is easily offsetting everything else he brings to the table.

                    • Ted Nelson

                      So what balls he gets to are meaningless in a given sample, but what balls he botches are meaningful? That’s not logical at all.

                      What strawman? You refer to no strawman, and just say I am making one. Again, where’s your logic?

                      Right… .338 wOBA isn’t a good offensive contribution. Tons of SS hit better than that.

                    • Need Pitching

                      you want an example of a straw man?
                      Fine.
                      I won’t bother to list them all, so I’ll just use your last post.
                      “So what balls he gets to are meaningless in a given sample, but what balls he botches are meaningful”

                      I never said anything remotely like that.

                      “Right… .338 wOBA isn’t a good offensive contribution. ”

                      I never said anything remotely like .338 wOBA isn’t a good offensive contribution.

                      2 straw man arguments in one response. Among many others in your previous posts.

                    • Ted Nelson

                      “I never said anything remotely like that.”

                      Yes… you did. You said UZR is meaningless and errors are not. That’s exactly what you said. STOP RETRACTING ALL YOUR STATEMENTS. It’s impossible to discuss anything with you because you keep changing your story.

                      “I never said anything remotely like .338 wOBA isn’t a good offensive contribution.”

                      You said it doesn’t offset his defense. I asked what would. Stop with this bullshit. Either discuss the issue or shut the fuck up.

                    • Need Pitching

                      UZR is meaningless in a small sample size. Even the creators of UZR say about 3 years worth of data is needed for an accurate depiction of a players defense. I never said what balls he gets to is meaningless – which is what you said, and which you changed your story from AGAIN. UZR in a small sample size isn’t an accurate indication of what balls a player got to.UZR in a small sample size should in no way be considered an accurate depiction of what balls a player does or does not get to or an accurate depiction or a players defensive ability. Even UZR’s creators acknowledge that. And I said, and I stand by, his offense hasn’t been good enough to offset his horrible defense. What would be good enough?? I don’t know, if he was able to maintain that wOBA and improve his defense from incompetent to merely below average, I’d be quite happy with a .338 wOBA. Hopefully his time in AAA will allow him to become at least a semi-reliable defender.

                      So to sum up again, for the obviously learning challenged. I never said a .338 wOBA was bad, as you implied. I never said what balls he gets to doesn’t matter. I said UZR in small samples is meaningless. Those 2 are not the same thing.

                      And if you can’t argue against something I actually say, and not just your distortions of what I said, then SHUT THE FUCK UP.

          • Ted Nelson

            But 156 innings of error data is awesome!

            And stop acting like Nunez is the only guy in baseball who wasn’t credited an error he should have been. Guy also has limited experience at 3B or 2B, and almost no experience in the OF.

            • Manny’s BanWagon

              You don’t need advanced metrics to see that the guy is a significantly below average defender at every position he plays including his “natural” position of SS.

              All you need to do is open your eyes and you’ll see it’s more than apparent.

              • CBR

                You have to open your eyes and realize that this guy hasn’t really played the field at all. MLB players have had YEARS playing their respective positions in the leagues, including the Minors. Nunez hasn’t had that luxury. He’s never had the time to develop as a fielder – he’s only been used as a hitter and baserunner. And it doesn’t help that the Yanks played this guy in like five positions already. Since the season began, Nunez has been at 3B, SS, 2B and LF. You can’t expect a guy to hone in on a position if the team won’t let him play just one (or two positions, TOPS!).

                And its time to stop blaming Nunez and start blaming Girardi for this mess. Nunez doesn’t pencil his name in the positional lineup each night – Girardi does. We all know that Nunez can’t field so why does the Binder King continue to put him in the field??? Hello!

              • Ted Nelson

                This is the whole problem. You’re saying he’s somewhere below average, and I’m trying to quantify his impact on the game. I have never once said Nunez is a good defender. I think he is a bad defender. I think his defense is a negative. I just think his offense might compensate for that as a UTL.

                Instead of actually considering my point, you’re just determined he’s a “significantly below average” defender. Great. I agree. Now can we actually discuss the relevant question?

    • Havok9120

      It has been going on all season. And last season. And his entire minor league career.

      Mike has been very clear he doesn’t like Nunez. But bias or no, he’s been butchering plays, especially at 3B, all season. Error numbers or no, we’ve SEEN how bad he’s been so far. And I’ve got it ingrained in my head that he should have at least one more against Baltimore but got saved by a scorekeeper.

      • jjyank

        This. As far as I’m concerned, Nunez has more than two series besides last night. I, like many of you, have watched just about every game this season. There’s no way you can tell me Nunez is a good, or even average fielder. He’s been making misplays all season. Come on Ted, I think you know that the official scorer’s rulings don’t always lineup with reality. Home field scorers often give their guys a hit when really it was a play should should have been made. Watching the games, it’s pretty clear that Nunez is a butcher out there. And considering that the eyeball test lines up with his history (major and minor league), it’s not a stretch to say that he’s a poor fielder.

        I’m usually a guy who preaches patience and gives players the benefit of the doubt, but the sample size on Nunez being a poor fielder is pretty large by now. I hope the Yankees don’t keep running him out there. Maybe his bat makes him a better SS option than someone like Pena, but with Nix and (hopefully) Chavez back, Nunez should not be playing third 2-3 times a week.

        • Ted Nelson

          I never once said Nunez was a good fielder. That’s not the issue. The issues are how bad is he at fielding vs. what else he brings? and what are the Yankees other alternatives? Considering his wOBA is now at .338 and the alternatives are Nix and Pena and Bernier… I’m still good with Nunez. I’m not going to take bias opinions from fans who don’t like the guy and are subjectively deciding he is so bad at fielding as to not be the best alternative at UTL.

          Every fielder deals with the same official scorers. Every player makes errors that aren’t recorded and gets unfairly given errors.

          Plus… errors are one part of fielding. If Jeter, for example, doesn’t get to a ball that 99% of SS would get to… that’s not an error, but it still costs his team a baserunner that another SS might get 99% of the time.

          • Need Pitching

            Alternatives at UTL don’t have to come from within the organization.
            I’d agree the Yankees probably don’t have a better in house alternative. That shouldn’t stop them from trying to find an upgrade. Of course errors are only one part of fielding. Nunez hasn’t demonstrated any consistent ability to be good in any aspect of fielding.

            • Ted Nelson

              I never said it has to come from within. What UTL do you want then to deal for? UTL are almost necessarily mediocre baseball players, because if you’re a good middle IF… there are teams that want you to start for them instead of their mediocre middle IFs.

              “Nunez hasn’t demonstrated any consistent ability to be good in any aspect of fielding.”

              This is where your argument because ridiculous. He has solid range. His biggest problem by far is throwing consistency. He also makes mental and technical errors at 3B and OF… positions he’s hardly played in his career.

              • Need Pitching

                Playing multiple positions is part of being UTL. Excuses for why he can’t do it are irrelevant to whether he’s currently capable of doing it or not. And he hasn’t demonstrated any consistent ability to be good in any aspect of fielding. He shows flashes of range at SS, but doesn’t consistently turn that range into outs. He shows a strong arm, but isn’t consistently accurate. He show occasional flashes of glove, but not on any consistent basis.
                Everything I just said is absolutely true, but I guess truth is a ridiculous argument, amiright?

    • CountryClub

      Nunez has been awful in the field his whole career except for 1 season in AAA. Sooner or later, the track record is what it is.

      • Ted Nelson

        Right, because no player ever gets better or worse at anything.

        • CountryClub

          Of course they do. But he hasn’t improved at all over a 5 or 6 yr span. Some players are what they are.

    • The Guns of Navarone

      I’m seriously dumbfounded how anyone at this point cannot see or admit just how bad a defender Nunez IS and HAS BEEN. If you want to argue that he can/will improve, then there’s not much we as casual fans can do to prove otherwise, but he’s a total liability on defense.

      I personally scratch my head and wonder what the Yankees were thinking when they evaluated this kid given how frequently he plays. I’m glad a game like this happened. It forces the Yankees to (FINALLY!) reevaluate this whole thing.

      • Ted Nelson

        I’m seriously dumbfounded that you didn’t bother to read anything I wrote.

        I said that people are blowing the impact of his defense out of proportion relative to the value of his offense.

        • Need Pitching

          “I’m seriously dumbfounded that you didn’t bother to read anything I wrote.

          fixed that for you

  • Need Pitching

    “Backup middle IFs who can hit grow on trees.”

    and backup middle IFs who need a defensive replacement in the 6th inning don’t keep their jobs (and you’re using the term “hit” loosely, he’s a below league average hitter)

    He’s had way more than one bad game. He is an incompetent fielder.
    He’s averaging 1 error for about every 40 innings in his career. He’s averaging 1 every 37.5 innings this year (even with Torre retracting one of his errors)

    • Need Pitching

      * that should be one every 31.33 innings this year. I gave him too much credit.

    • Ted Nelson

      We’ll see. You’re looking at his debut callup, rookie year and a small sample this Season to say he’s below average. The hit tool seems to be there visually and the Yankees seem to think it will develop as they’re holding onto him and playing him semi-regularly.

      What other games? There’s a hell of a lot more to fielding than errors. 2 Es coming into the game was real progress for Nunez, though. It’s not great, but te team can live with it if the rest of his game is there. He was making a positive contribution on the year.

      • Need Pitching

        ” He was making a positive contribution on the year.”
        -0.1 bWAR coming into the game. Below replacement isn’t making a positive contribution.
        And “was” is the operative word anyways. Today did happen. The 2 errors did happen. That’s 4 errors (5 without Torre) in about 125 innings. That is beyond awful. And it doesn’t count several other misplays that weren’t scored errors. It’s rather ridiculous (and counter-productive) to carry a utility IF that needs a defensive replacement. For the team to “live with” one error every 31+ innings, he needs to hit a whole helluva lot better to deserve playing time.

        • I am not the droids you’re looking for…

          Not that we needed more evidence that Ted likes to argue for arguments sake but jeez…….

          • Ted Nelson

            I just honestly think Nunez is the Yankees’ best UTL over guys like Nix, Pena, Laird, Bernier, etc. I think his offensive value will at least wash out the defensive shortcomings. Plus… I just don’t think that the other alternatives are any good. It’s not that I think Nunez is great, or that I think he’s a good fielder.

            I also just think that people were waiting for the next time Nunez made an error to jump on it.

        • Ted Nelson

          fWAR disagreed with bWAR.

          .338 wOBA on the season is just awful, right? He can’t hit at all.

          I never said the errors aren’t a problem. I’m trying to analyze how big of a problem they are in context. Rather than just deciding no UTL who is defensively replaced is any good.

          • Need Pitching

            funny how you say one game shouldn’t reflect the judgement of Nunez’ season so far, but then use one good game raising his wOBA from below average to above average as proof of something.
            I didn’t say he can’t hit at all. To this point, he hasn’t hit nearly enough to offset his horrid defense. I said the errors were awful. I said the offense so far has been below average (until yesterday’s game). Where did a say a .338 wOBA was awful????
            That’s right, I didn’t.
            Just keep making up your straw man arguments, Mr. Strawman.

            • Ted Nelson

              It’s proof that this sample is too small to draw any conclusions from, yes. You’re doing the exact thing you’re accusing me of, you fucking moron. You’re looking at a one game swing in defense from above average to below average as representative of his ability, but not the opposite on offense. You can’t have it both ways. Which way do you want it?

              If .338 wOBA isn’t enough to offset the errors, what is?

              • Need Pitching

                “You’re looking at a one game swing in defense from above average to below average as representative of his ability”

                you are a serious fucking moron. He was not in any way above average defensively before the 2 error game. Your only basis for saying his was above average is 120 innings of UZR data, which is not at all reliable on a small SSS. You’re relying on an unreliable metric in SSS and excluding all other evidence. Nobody who watched Nunez this year (even excluding yesterday’s game) would say Nunez has been above average defensively. I’m not at all looking at a one game swing in Nunez’ defensive ability. I’m looking at his total body of work. Yesterday was just further confirmation of his defensive suckitude (and further indication that he doesn’t appear to be making defensive progress)

  • Jesse

    Well, so much for that CG SO I was hoping for CC to get, but this effort by the big fella is close enough. Nice win.

    • Get Phelps Up (formerly Freddy Garcia’s 86 mph Heat)

      It probably would have been a CGSHO if Nunez could make those routine plays.

      • Havok9120

        But….but….

        THAT’S A LOGICAL FALLACY!!

      • jsbrendog

        but he only had 2 OFFICIAL errors so decided by a random guy in a booth that may or may not even be paying attention to the game!!11!!1!!1!!1!1!1!!!

        • Ted Nelson

          But random fans are great at mentally quantifying a guy’s defensive impact!!!!!!!!!!!! It’s so easy to tell if Player X would have gotten to that ball that Player Y couldn’t get to!!!!!!!!!!!!

          • Jim Is Bored

            Better to compare relatively to other players than to base your judgement off of nothing but “I think he should/shouldn’t have gotten that ball”.

            • Ted Nelson

              I think you missed my point. Yes, it is better to compare to other players. No, human’s don’t have the ability to make those calculations in their minds for a relevant sample of balls. That was my point. There are stats measuring these things because humans are not mentally capable. I’m not sure how many humans are even capable of separating a .200 hitter from a .300 hitter mentally without keeping records.

  • Austin’s Bat

    Not only is ARod hitting the snot out of the ball, he is also hitting the snot out of lefties recently; 140 wRC+ on the season after starting 0/14 with 6 walks. His lower stats since 2009 have basically been lefty fail but still was hitting righties hard. All the walks vs LHP might mean his eye is coming back.

    • jjyank

      That’s very encouraging. A productive A-Rod and Cano rounding into form will go a long way to revitalizing the offense.

      • Cris Pengiucci

        And they’re doing just as Jeter seems to be cooling off (hope he proves me wrong this weekend). Timing couldn’t be better. Hope Teix can turn it around (I’m beginning to lose hope, but we all did that with Jeter too).

        If ARod and Cano contiue their hot-hitting ways, Jeter stays about a .300 hitter for the season, and Teix can do something while the rest of the team turns in career average performances, this offense will be what we all expected it to be. Time to turn it on and go on a nice little run.

  • Knoxvillain

    I really don’t think I’ve hated anyone as much as Nunez on the Yankees in the past several years. Great game tonight. I hope Montero goes 0-4 with four GIDPs just so people don’t bitch about the trade tomorrow.

    • Will

      I don’t think the Yankees will have to worry about Montero too much, at least until Sunday (when the Yankees are starting their only LHP of the series). His L/R splits are comical–he’s basically an NL pitcher hitting against righties.

      • Monterowasnotdinero

        I know some other guys making 20M a year with similar #’s after a month.

        I am happy for Montero. He is 22, bats cleanup and 5th, catches the whole staff and seems to be enjoying Seattle. Way less pressure on him to develop. He should be perfect for us as a free agent down the road.

        And we have to decide to pay Martin 8-10M a year after this year? Please.

        Montero will heat up this summer. 20HR and 85 rbis for the M’s would be a helluva rookie year.

        • jjyank

          Just promise me you won’t go crazy this weekend.

          • DJ4K&Monterowasdinero

            I won’t comment whether it’s a strikeout, risp failure, passed ball, stolen base against or even a few opposite field HRs…

            The future is bright for him.

    • http://www.twitter.com/matt__harris Matt :: Sec110

      AJ?!

  • eephus_pitch

    I’m starting to see a lot of Jeter’s bad groundball habits creeping back in. When he’s going good he slashes the ball the other way. When he’s going bad he rolls over on everything and hits a lot of weak 5-3s.
    Oh, well. At least he drew a walk.

    • CountryClub

      This is true. But he’s allowed to go into a slump. It’s not necessarily a sign of bigger problems.

      • eephus_pitch

        When you’re an older player coming off two down years, it’s always ominous.

  • https://twitter.com/Mattpat11 Matt DiBari

    I have no idea what point the Yankees are trying to prove with Eduardo Nunez.

    • Jim Is Bored

      Why do you think they’re trying to prove a point? He’s a fast, athletic guy who they were hoping would improve on defense, and he hasn’t. They were hoping he’d be a good alternative when our aging SS and 3B needed a rest. He hasn’t been.

      There’s no conspiracy theory, no point to prove, it’s really very simple. If they had a better option, they’d be using him.

      • LarryM.,Fl.

        I agree.

        • Cris Pengiucci

          “If they had a better option, they’d be using him.”

          Also agree. While I cringe when he’s playing D, there really doesn’t seem to be a better overall choice for the role he plays within the organization. Maybe, with a consistent position, he can get a little better.

      • https://twitter.com/Mattpat11 Matt DiBari

        He’s unusable in the field. I can’t imagine they don’t have a better option.

        • Jim Is Bored

          Evidence points against you, as that’s what the Yankees have determined.

          I’m not arguing he’s good. But unless you come up with some kind of fact to back up your weird idea that the Yankees are proving something, I’m going to keep believing that they have no better options.

  • Frank

    Two things- Nunez isn’t worth the rsk reward. Luckily, CC didn’t unravel after the 2 errors. Another pitcher may have. Nunez needs to go to the minors to play everyday. He’s not going to get better defensively playing 2-3 times a week. If they want him to be a backup SS-2B, let him play everyday at those positions in the minors. Nix will do just fine as the backup at SS-2d and Chavez at 3rd when he returns.

    Second, amd more disturbing, is what has happened with Texeira? He is absolutely lost at the plate, and it seems worst at YS. I think this guy is so pull happy he’s totally psyched out by the RF short porch. No attempt to hit the opposite way as he preached all off season. Thankfully, his defense is still great but his lack of production/ quality ABs, has to be a cause for concern.

  • Midland TX

    Out come the pitchforks again. He’s the backup to the backup 3B starting his second full season. Maybe it isn’t realistic to expect the 22nd guy on the roster to come up and win Gold Gloves and hit like Jeter.

    The tools are there. It’s just mental. I don’t see him ending up like Knoblauch–I think he’ll work it out.

    • jjyank

      Fair points, but I think the problem is that most teams carry a back-up infielder that can actually field. When your backup infielder is getting lifted for defensive reasons…that’s bad. I do like Nunez’s bat, but if he’s going to directly cost the Yankees 1-2 runs every once in awhile, do you think his bat is good enough to overcome that? We’re not talking about Mike Piazza and being a Catcher here. Nunez can hit alright for a middle infielder, but I don’t think it’s well enough to make up for the defense.

    • jsbrendog

      you say the tools are there and that it is mental…yet his entire professional history disagrees with you….

      • Jim Is Bored

        Not necessarily; if it’s always been mental then his professional history quite agrees with him. But also doesn’t provide evidence that he can change.

  • Wil Nieves Number 1 Fan

    So Nick Swisher has been productive, and Granderson proves, again, that he can hit lefties. When does Girardi finally drop Tex to the 6th spot, and let Grandy / Swish platoon the 2nd/5th spots. It’s gotta happen sometime, eh?

    • J

      Yea I totally agree here, and was actually thinking this during the game. Tex lefthanded is basically a Pena, Giambi type hitter right now. Until he gets straightened out (if he does) I would move him down one. Makes it a little scarier, the prospect of letting Swisher walk…

      • Wil Nieves Number 1 Fan

        At least Pena and Giambi draw walks. Tex isn’t even doing that. I root for Tex, but he doesn’t even look close at the plate.

  • J

    Part of the problem has to be how the Yankees just assume that Nunez can play all these positions with little experience. Moving him around all the time is not allowing him to get comfortable in one position. Those veteran utility infielders make it look easy but for a young player all that shuffling can lead to well…errors. Yanks need to be realistic with Nunie, and start with 1 or 2 spots, until he gets enough reps to be confident. Same goes with the bat. I’m guessing if Nunez plays everyday at short his offense and defense would be stronger, but what are you gunna do?

    • Monterowasnotdinero

      Agree with this. Imagine Cano, Jeter and Arod playing all 3 positions and not every day. Oh and throw in corner outfield. These 3 guys are HoF’ers (probably). Nunez has a tough job but he is STILL versatile, cheap and usually makes a positive contribution offensively. He is the most interesting utility man in the world…

      • jjyank

        That’s true, and I can’t imagine that it’s easy. But the reality is that this is his role. Nunez is not going to be getting regular reps at one position, so if that’s what it takes to improve…that’s not going to happen until he is no longer cheap. The fact is, there are players out there that can do that, both young and old. If the Yankees are carrying Nunez to caddy A-Rod and Jeter, and also have to carry Nix to caddy Nunez, that’s not a very productive bench construction. Are you cool with Nunez making errors on a semi-regular basis over the next few years and costing the Yankees runs? If he can’t improve in his current role, the Yankees need to ditch the experiment. He’s not going to be a starter, barring injury, so that excuse doesn’t play very well with me.

        • Cris Pengiucci

          that’s not a very productive bench construction.

          Not entirely sure I agree. While it would be great if Nunez could be trusted to provide solid D throughout the game, I see nothing wrong with allowing the 25th man on the bench to get into games. It may help him stay prepared in case he’s needed for a larger role at some point.

    • OMG! Bagels!

      I agree with this. He doesn’t know what the hell he’s doing and I think the shuffling has to do with it.

      Jeter’s 76 years old and picks up much-needed extra money working at your tri-state Ford dealer so he’s old and busy, but he’s only played one position.

      I think they need to work with Nunez in just a couple positions and stop rotating him around the diamond.

      • jjyank

        Part of the problem was the Garnder an Swish injuries. That’s what forced Nunez in LF. With Swisher back and Wise up, that should keep Nunez out of the offense at least. But Cano doesn’t get many days off, so Nunez is pretty much just playing two positions now anyway, and that goes for last year as well.

        I’m not advocating the completely drop the Nunez experiment right this second, but his leash needs to be short now. Your backup infielder should not need a defensive replacement.

  • jjyank

    Just to add to CC’s awesomeness, I saw this on LoHud:

    “Sabathia hasn’t started a season 5-0 since 2007, when he won the Cy Young Award with Cleveland. His 53 strikeouts match the most he’s ever had through his first seven starts (he also reached that number in 2007). Tonight was his 29th career 10-strikeout game, and he ended it with seven of his last 10 outs coming on strikeouts.”

    • jsbrendog

      ::Swoooooon::

  • King Joffery

    Chris Stewart reminds me of the type of players we had in the late 90s. He only gets limited chances but he always seems to come up big in those spots. He seems to work well with CC so hopefully Girardi continues pairing those two together.

    • Tom Swift

      It’s not crazy to think of him as Plan B if we can’t sign Russ Martin or a better player. Excellent defensive player who needs to hit just a little more to be a starter.

      • jsbrendog

        except…his entire minor league career…he wasn’t very good.

        http://www.baseball-reference......ewar002chr

        last yr in ~70 games for the giants….he was extremely horribly godawful

        youre saying this based on 8 games this year? 8 games? last yr he had 8 game streaks where he hit well too…and then 10+ game streaks where he didn’t.

        dude is 30 and has never been good. 8 games. let’s see how he is at the end of the season. he is a super solid backup. but seriously, to replace martin? russel martin right now is better than chris stewart was last yr and he is sucking. is martin awesome? not particularly since he had all those injuries but he is most certainly >>> stewart.

        • Jim Is Bored

          Thank you for this. There’s nothing wrong with Chris Stewart: Backup Catcher, but he really shouldn’t be plan B for the starting lineup.

  • JohnC

    I agree about the constnat shuffling hurting Nunez. Should just have him be backup shortstop and thats it. I disagree with the poster that says he’s not a good hitter. He is. Seems to get at least a hit in each game he plays, and hits the ball hard alot when he makes an out. Nix showed a pretty good glove and quick reflexes at 3rd. He might be better suited for the all around utility Infield job

    • Kosmo

      I would leave Nunez to play SS and 2nd, leave 3B to Chavez or Nix at least for now.
      The Yanks still maintain, although marginally, the best Fielding Percentage in the AL.

  • Bavarian Yankee

    sure, Nunez’ errors really suck but when does he play back to back games at the same position? One day he plays at SS, the other day in LF, then at 3rd. That’s hard for a young guy.

    CC is just outstanding right now, what else can you say about him?

  • willx

    I’d start stewart over martin more than just once a week

    • Cris Pengiucci

      Stewart, from the very limited times I’ve seen him play with my completely untrained eye (and all on TV), seems to be a solid or at least adequate defender. As he’s currently hitting better than Martin, I agree that he should get a bit more playing time. The extra time off may help Martin. If it doesn’t and Stewart continues to perform well, it may allow the Yankees to better understand their options at C after the season.

  • willx

    Martin only has 2 more rbi’s and is batting .188 how long can you bat .188 and be a starter? Why does martin get a pass? People act as if he’s a great defended… he’s been far from that this year

    • CBR

      Not just him… when are we going to stop letting Teixeira off the hook as well? I know he’s a fabulous fielder but $25M for a .230 hitter is unacceptable.

    • Bavarian Yankee

      “how long can you bat .188 and be a starter?”

      hmmm, good question. Adam Dunn hit .159 in about 500 ABs las year.

      tbh 1 month is really a SSS, so we shouldn’t be too worried. He hit about .245 during the past 3 years, so he isn’t that far away from his usual average. Give him a good week and he’s right up there again.

  • mt

    My main problem with the whole Nunez situation is that Yanks have made certain decisions and they do not fit

    1) you have a 3rd basemen where you want to protect him from injury so you have him DH much more than we all expected at beginning of season. That’s OK to make that decision but how can you have somone who (other than Nick Johnson) is the poster child for injuries, at least in the AL, be Arod’s back-up – I like Chavez but if the main point is to protect AROD they need to bite the bullet and get a younger, less obviously injury prone person – yes, everybod, no matter how young, can get injured but you do not have someone who has a history of injuries to protect you from the same concern on AROD.

    2) Nunez struggles defensively – agreed – so what do Yanks do to adress issue – make him possibly cover more psoitions. WTF?? In addition, they would not have tried to make him do outfield if Ibanez was at least minimally competent. Supposedly that was the deciding factor in favor of Ibanez versus Damon being signed as DH but I do not see it. Ibanez looks very shaky. They need to keep Nunez to Shortstop (needed heavily for Jeter) and 2nd base (as little as possible.

    So is there any way we can get

    1) 3rd baseman back-up that is less injury prone. it would be good if person could also do first back-up. As for first base back-up, hopefuly the Swisher and Ibanez can back-up first in emergency
    2) Nunez only focused on SS back-up and maybe 2nd back-up, pinch-running, and maybe some DH (have Jones play against righthanders because Ibanez is horrible in field.) Yes, we do give up some offense with Jones against RH pitchers but Ibanez/Nunez are terrible in outfield) The only way Nunez sees outfield is in emergency extra inniongs game maybe in NL parks.
    3) Keep Ibanez off field except in emergency situations(not sure if he can do fisrt but would be OK if he did first in emergency situations)

    • mt

      Maybe Nix needs to take Chavez job? Not sure about his injury history.

  • The Guns of Navarone

    The defense of this team overall is what worries me, and it’s not just Eduardo Nunez. I think watching the Yankees over the last two or three years has spoiled me because the Yankees actually have been a good defensive team.

    The high BABIP of this pitching staff isn’t an accident. It’s been tough watching Ibanez, Nunez, AND Jeter in the field at the same time. I’m sure this will correct itself to an extent once Gardner (and Chavez) comes back.

  • CBR

    I’m going to repeat my post..

    Its time to stop blaming Nunez and start blaming Girardi for this mess. Nunez doesn’t pencil his name in the positional lineup each night – Girardi does. We all know that Nunez can’t field so why does the Binder King continue to put him in the field??? Hello!

    Also I just don’t get why A-Rod needs all this rest from 3B. Is there something I’m missing?

    • Jim Is Bored

      “Also I just don’t get why A-Rod needs all this rest from 3B. Is there something I’m missing?”

      The past 2 years of injuries?

  • TEP

    Really enjoy reading your pieces Mike.

    Kudos for pointing out the productivity of Alex. If he’s not hitting HR’s people are down on him because of who he is….Truth be told, I think what we are seeing is, now, who he is. He is a guy that is going to see a ton of pitches, take what is given and hopefully 3.8 out of 10 times will reach base.

  • Fin

    Ahh the hate for a guy learning to play the outfield, 2b, 3b at the major league level and never being left alone to learn how to play ss is astounding. I blame the Yankees for trying to have this guy learn all these positions at the MLB level. I have no idea how good of a defender he would be if just left alone at ss, but I’m not making a judgement on his abilities based on the hand hes been delt. Clearly, if they want him as a super utility guy that can play every position, they need to send him down and learn those positions away from the big lights of NY. I think this was just an experiment to see what he could do, and born out injur nessessity, I’m thinking the experiment is probably at an end and we will see him settle in primarily as Jeter’s back up.

    What is rediculas was signing Chavez again as Arods backup. I complained about it before the season and I’m still complaining now. How can you sign a guy who has about the worst injury history you could find to backup a guy who cant stay healthy or needs to DH 1/3 of the time to stay healthy. Either way the back up needs to be able to play and Chavez isnt that guy.