Aug
23

Thoughts following the sweep in Chicago

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(REUTERS/Jeff Haynes)

The Yankees just got swept by the White Sox in a three-game set in Chicago for the first time in 21 years, dropping their AL East lead to three games. That’s the smallest lead they’ve had in 52 games, since June 25th. Coincidentally enough, their opponent that day was the same Indians team they’ll face tomorrow in Cleveland. The Bombers are off today, so here are a few scattered thoughts for the morning…

1. The Yankees have way too any platoon players right now. The Brett Gardner and Alex Rodriguez injuries play a huge part in that, but so has Robinson Cano‘s inability to hit left-handers this year (71 wRC+). He’s been a lefty masher his entire career up to this point. Hopefully it’s just a one-year blip, but the point still stands: all of these platoon guys really limit flexibility. If the Yankees let the switch-hitting Nick Swisher walk after the season and don’t replace him with someone capable of hitting both lefties and righties, it’s going to stand out like a sore thumb. Using two players to approximate the production of one is no way to build half a lineup.

Late Add: This came across my Twitter feed and I thought it was appropriate to mention here…

2. Speaking of Cano, I think the Yankees are much better off batting him cleanup and Mark Teixeira third with A-Rod out. Derek Jeter and Swisher have been a dynamite one-two punch for the last two weeks, but Robbie goes up their hacking and is prone to the bat at-bat, especially during this recent slump. Teixeira is far more patient and will continue to let the pitcher work himself into trouble if that’s what he’s trying to do. If and when Cano starts hitting again, they can bump him back up. Right now though, Tex is the more dangerous hitter and they should stack their best hitters together atop the lineup.

PED = Performance-Enhancing Donuts. (Jonathan Daniel/Getty)

3. So how about this Bartolo Colon stuff? It hasn’t been a great week for the “shoulda kept Colon! shoulda kept Melky Cabrera!” crowd. Do you think the Yankees knew something was up and that’s why they decided to re-sign Freddy Garcia instead of Bart? I think it has more to do with his second half collapse myself, but you never know. I guess you can’t be surprised that a guy who underwent an experimental stem cell procedure to revive his career would be willing to take some less than legal drugs as well.

4. Joe and I were talking about this a bit yesterday, but I have absolutely no idea who the Yankees are going to call up in September, especially on the pitching side of things. The only non-MLB, non-DL pitchers on the 40-man roster right now are Dellin Betances, Adam Warren, Justin Thomas, and Cory Wade. That’s it. Even the non-40-man players in Triple-A like Manny Delcarmen and Ryota Igarashi are unappealing. The Yankees opened the season with a ton of pitching depth in Triple-A, and five months later it has completely vanished.

5. When we first learned about the club’s intention to get under the $189M luxury tax threshold in 2014, we knew that was going to require some cheap production from young players. CC Sabathia was supposed to be joined in the rotation by Ivan Nova, Michael Pineda, and Manny Banuelos, and now all three are injured following Nova’s shoulder problem. Hopefully it’s not serious like the injuries that cost Pineda the entire season and Banuelos most of it, but Ivan wasn’t exactly pitching well before he got hurt anyway. They’re going to have to go back to the drawing board for this whole 2014 payroll plan, because the pitching aspect has blown up already.

Categories : Musings
  • Darren

    I’m not the biggest Girardi fan, but I freakin LOVED the way he responded to that heckler.

    Meh, it’s just a lil’ old sweep. The Rays will start losing any day now. Yanks will regain 4 game lead and never sink below it; cruise easily into playoffs. Mark my words.
    /wishin and hoping

    • Mister D

      I’m a Girardi fan and I thought it looked petty. Two ships …

      • Darren

        “Two ships….”

        Wait, can you finish that statement? Two ships…passing in the night? Two ships…don’t make a right?

        I’m confused.

        • Mister D

          “… passing in the night.”

          Came from different starting points, almost met/agreed in the middle but, alas, did not.

      • pat

        He literally couldn’t conduct the interview with the guy screaming. Security didn’t seem to be doing anything. I liked it. Wish he choke slamemd the guy.

      • Gonzo

        The fan came off like a loud-mouthed fool and Girardi came off like a big league coach dealing with a loud-mouthed fool. The winner: Girardi.

        • Gonzo

          This is not me posting.

          • jjyank

            Two Gonzos?

            • Gonzo

              Roman Polanski, Robert Towne and Jack Nicholson are working on the script as we speak.

            • MannyGeee

              and technically, I’m a Gonzo too… but not on here, just in life

    • MannyGeee

      “Meh, it’s just a lil’ old sweep. The Rays will start losing any day now. Yanks will regain 4 game lead and never sink below it; cruise easily into playoffs. Mark my words.”

      You must be new here. Doom & Gloom is the order of the day here at RAB. especially after getting swept by a 1st place team.

      Go slam your dick in a cabinet drawer and bring that venom and irrationality back here to blame Girardi, Cashman, Hughes, A-Rod, Javy, King George, NOva, Joba, Pineda, Jesus Montero, Jack Z., Billy Martin, Joe Torre, Bud Selig, Randy Johnson, Kevin Brown, Johnny Damon, Rudy Guiliani, Spike Lee, Billy Crystal, Whoopi Goldberg, Ted Danson or the Son of Sam…

      (But NEVER Paully O’Neill, Donny Baseball, or Bernie Williams, kthxbye…)

      • Steve

        How did you miss the ultimate, catch all scape goat Randy Levine?

        • Buffalo Bill

          Or Carl Pavano. Or Sergio Mitre. Or …

          • rek4gehrig

            or Javy Vasquez

            • MannyGeee

              I forgot about Cameron Diaz, Jaret Wright, Jared from Subway and Hank & Hal…

              Waiting for Robinson Tilapia to get up and finish the list… he’s reeeeeeeally good at this game!

              • jjyank

                You’re right in that he needs to finish the list, but I’ll throw Sidney Ponson, Madonna, and Minka Kelly in there.

                • http://twitter.com/#!/Clay_Bellinger Clay Bellinger

                  …and Kate Hudson, Mel Hall, Mayor Dinkins, Jesse Barfield, Alvaro Espinoza…

                  • jjyank

                    Chase Wright!

              • Robinson Tilapia aka Melky’s Webmaster

                It was Rikishi. He did it for the Rock.

    • Lou

      I’m not a big Girardi fan either and I been saying it for the last few year that I’m sick and tired of roller coaster of a lineup. Most MLB teams have a set 1-9 linenup not the Yankees. Different guys every night, who needs a rest. Like he said it’s no way to build a lineup……….glad you see what I see too.

      • G

        There’s an argument for Maddon being the best manager in baseball, and he shuffles his lineup as much as anyone. That’s not Girardi’s problem.

        • forensic

          Even Maddon himself says that if he managed a team in a big market with more veteran players that he wouldn’t do the stuff that he does with the lineups.

  • Eddard

    I think the Indians will be just what this team needs right now and they’ll right the ship. CC and Kuroda will be pitching so things will get better.

    The lineup should stay the same. No need to panic. Alex will be back, put him at the 4, Robbie 3, Teix 5, Grandy 6. Swish stays at 2.

    Bartolo Colon isn’t nearly as surprising as Melky. The guy was out of baseball and finished. All of a sudden he comes back and is throwing 95 mph 2 seamers. Probably worth the risk for a guy like him who was done otherwise.

    • TomH

      If it looks too good to be true, etc., etc., then the odds are it’s dirty. If a late 30′s guy starts consistently outhitting G.H. Ruth, it’s too good to be true, reach for the cleanser, cause it’s dirty.

  • Stan the Man

    Not sure I agree with the thought of moving your best hitter out of the 3 spot and moving up the streakiest hitter in the lineup who has an OBP nearly 30 pts lower than your #3 hitter. Cano also wasn’t the issue last night, he went 2-4 and that usually means he is coming back around. He typically doesn’t go through prolonged slumps, unlike Tex who has been in a slump for 3 yrs now.

    • Mister D

      Teix has been the better player since the break. Similar OBP (.357 to .350 for Teix) but with an isoP gap of almost 100 pts. Plus the whole switch hitting thing.

  • Mister D

    “Using two players to approximate the production of one is no way to build half a lineup.”

    Half disagree? If you can run platoons out there and have the weak-sides still fill the standard bench roles, I think its great, but the Yanks don’t have that. No true backup SS, catchers who hit from the same side, your backup CF needs to play a corner to keep DHs on the bench, etc. So you’re right, for us, but maybe not as a concept?

    • Kered Retej

      “Using two players to approximate the production of one is no way to build half a lineup.”

      Actually, isn’t that exactly how you build half a lineup? (rimshot)

      I agree the platooning isn’t ideal, but maybe this is the next market inefficiency to be exploited, though it does mean getting creative with your 25-man roster.

      • jjyank

        Could be, and it’s also a product of injuries. The platooning would be at a perfectly acceptable level in my opinion if Gardner and A-Rod were healthy.

      • Gonzo

        With the expanding bullpen slots used for the 25-man roster, platooning doesn’t seem as palatable as it used to be. At least to me.

        • Kered Retej

          Well, I was thinking one of the potential beneficial side effects of more platooning is a move away from the 12-13 man pitching staffs.

          • Gonzo

            I like that idea.

        • Mister D

          It works if the platoon players still fill the necessary bench roles. McGehee would be nice with a lefty 3B as he can be the platoon plus right power off the bench and able to play both corners. Nix would work if Cano were platooned if you trusted Nix to handle SS as well. A righty Gardner would be awesome as a bench OF / platoon covering CF and PR when not starting. It would be really tough to construct the roster (and really, really tough to find a replacement if one of the dual bench guys got hurt), but it would really work if you had some lefty starters with heavy splits.

  • Luke

    Oh sure Mike, Cashman KNEW that Colon and Melky were going to the dark side of PED use. That’s why he dumped both of them. See, the Force is strong in Cashman and he can see into the future, yep he can. Or maybe one of his droid probes revealed the upcoming headlines.

    Hey Mike – let’s spray a little suspicion around and see what sticks, shall we. (sigh) You are chirping like a disciple of pistol pete bayless.

    Maybe we should have Axisa pee in a cup and see what makes him go, shall we? You never know, do you Mike, but I do know that I have my suspicions about you. ;-)

    • Mister D

      I’m sure Colon would have been the choice, no matter what, if his 1st half matched his 2nd half, but its certainly not inconceivable someone knew / suspected. GMs occasionally are aware before a failed test. Eric Gagne, for one.

    • Mister D

      (Now I’m thinking you were parody and I missed it.)

      • Gonzo

        I think he’s parodying too. Maybe he should have posted under Howie Spira to give it that extra oomph.

  • Buhner’s barber

    Does anyone else think that the overuse of platoons (as well as the poor performance vs. LHP of some of our best hitters like Cano) is one of the reasons of the terrible record when losing late in the game? When so many pieces of the line-up can be neutralized with the bullpen, it makes the team so much weaker in the late game.

    • Buffalo Bill

      Doesn’t the fact that the Yankees liberally use platoons theoretically make it LESS likely that they can be neutralized with a bullpen? They essentially have opposite handed “starters” on their bench for any person they would PH for except at C.

  • MannyGeee

    OK I am going out on a limb here. I MISS ALEX like you would not believe. Even this version of Alex could still drive in runs (even if not in such a spectacular fashion).

    • jjyank

      I miss Alex too.

  • Kosmo

    Look at the numbers. I said weeks ago Tex hits better in the 3 hole and Cano hitting cleanup:
    Batting 3rd Tex is hitting .299 in 148 ABs
    Cleanup Cano is hitting .317 in 274 ABs

    SSS ? I doubt it.

    Yanks need to release maybe 2 players from the 40 man and add Monty and one other, Whitley ?

    • Mister D

      It would be a bit weird, but you could always release Stewart and recall both Cervelli and Romine when the roaming AAA team is done.

      • Kosmo

        I was thinking Eppley and Thomas, bring up Wade who´s pitched well of late and Monty.

  • cashmoney

    It sucks to be swept. Yanks could have won all three games. I am hungry I think PopEye Chicken is in order. The new waitress at Borgata is ‘bangin’. Those are my random thoughts after the ChiTown raping.

    • jjyank

      You suck. Now I crave PopEyes and there’s not one anywhere near where I work.

  • cashmoney

    Did Banuelos have surgery?

    • jesse

      no.

  • Paul VuvuZuvella

    How’s about a mid-week Lack Of Confidence poll for craps and giggles.

    • MannyGeee

      lack of confidence is through tha roof!!! (see the above Blame List)

  • mick taylor

    it is absurd that andruw jones is being paid to hit 200 and strike out 100 times . he was asked to not have to hit against righthanders but the easy part for him to hit lefts. and he still sucks. they should have kept wise or picked up a cody ross type. there must be someone out there who is better. cano sucks too. he is supposed to be the best hitter in th e al yet he sucks in risp and we will most likely finish with less than 100 rbis.. alex rios is having a better year than cano. i would sign josh hamilton , who would hit 50 homers and terrorize the al east next year.

    • jjyank

      Seriously, what’s with the DeWayne Wise love train? You lose your credibility right there.

      • Slugger27

        haha, hook line and sinker.

      • MannyGeee

        SPEAKING OF DeWAYNE WISE… I have a prediction to throw out there…

        D-Wise will be a major league Pedro Ciriaco-sized pain in the Yankees ass in October, much like another former Yankee in a previous October…

        KENNY FCKING LOFTON in Cleveland in 2007 (2006?).

        • Mister D

          Counter-prediction: A player other than Wise will cause us the most problems in the playoffs.

        • Robinson Tilapia aka Melky’s Webmaster

          Half these fuckers saying “THEY SHOULDA KEPT TEH WISE” were writing him off as scrap heap fodder last off-season. Wise is who he is, and he’ll always be a thorn in someone’s side for a few months a year, before he moves on to the next stop. There are MUCH worse ways to make a living.

  • DM

    Cashman was still talking to Colon even after Garcia signed. They only backed off after the Pineda/Kuroda night. And you’ll never know when he started or how it affected his pitching. Testosterone may help you recover between starts, but it doesn’t help you throw strikes. Even with the suspension, the A’s got their 2mil bucks worth — and you’ll have to back off that Oakland stadium theory since he pitched well on the road too.

    Maybe we should be suspicious of Pettitte since he came back at 39 and was pitching like he never left the game. Since we know he’s not above using PEDs, wouldn’t that be warranted? Nah, our cheater would never cheat.

    • Jimmy McNulty

      Meh. There’s probably players on the Yankees that are juicing too. I’m just waiting for Jose Bautista to get caught.

      • DM

        I think so too. The drugs and techniques have been modified but PEDs never left the game. And frankly, MLB doesn’t care all that much. A bust here and there for appearances, but better performance is better for the game.

        • MannyGeee

          THIS. I am actually thinking the MLB finds the PED policy as a thorn in their side. If they were serious about it they would be much more stringent about testing and a zero-tolerance policy would have been instituted. This policy is to save face.

          • jjyank

            Yeah, why did it take so long to get the policy in place anyway? Because guys like Bonds, McGuire, and Sosa were bringing in so much revenue and attention to baseball with the home run records.

  • Nord

    Pitching is always tricky and the Yankees have been snakebit this year…. going forward, CC, Kuroda and Hughes are a good 1-2-3 punch. Phelps probably and don’t count out the oldsters: Garcia and Petitte. Sounds to me that the Yankees have a good core for next year? Nova? Long relief. Pineda? Probably back from surgery OK, but will take time to find out if he is good or not.

    Keep Swisher! Spend the money there and stay under the cap for 2014 for sure.

  • Jose M. Vazquez

    I don’t know what happened to my comment,but in response to the person that was talking abut platoons I said that only the right handed platoon is weak. The left anded one is ok. And that has to change next year. You cannot have a lineup where 4-5 guys are sure outs every time they come to the plate.

  • The DonSlaught

    Wouldn’t be upset if Cash kicked the tires on Volquez now that he’s on waivers. With Nova being completely inept, I have little faith he will give anything of value in the post-season. Wouldn’t mind having another strikeout guy if it wouldn’t cost too much.

    • jjyank

      Nooooo. His BB/9 hasn’t been below 5 since 2008. I do not want to see him in the AL East.

      • The DonSlaught

        He’s an upgrade over Nova whose H/9 this year has been about 31.

    • Hoss

      I’d be delighted – but shocked – if Thomas Alva made it through trade waivers. Also, San Diego isn’t giving him up for nada. He was a major part of the Mat Latos deal, and Mat’s a pretty good pitcher last I looked.
      My money’s on someone like Millwood if he can make it through trade waivers.
      Mike and others here are sour on Carlos Marmol, but there’s major upside there. Sure, he’s got a big contract for next year. But think about if IKYMF opts out (likely) and Mo doesn’t return to form or only pitches one more year. Who’s the closer of the future? Robertson? Better as a set-up guy. Joba? Give me a break. Montgomery? Way to early to tell.
      Getting someone like Marmol can help now and possibly in the future. I’d take a chance.

      • jjyank

        Robertson had how many save chances, and you’re predicting his career on that? Joba is coming back from 2 major injuries, and you’re judging his future on that? Glad you’re not in charge.

        • Hoss

          I’m not “judging” anyone’s future. But how comfortable do you think that any Yankee fan would be going into next year with a bullpen anchored by Robertson and Joba? Honestly…

          • jjyank

            You’re forgetting Mo and assuming that Soriano opts out as well. The Yankees will likely have another whole year to evaluate the “closer of the future” scenario, no need to get all hot and bothered yet based on SSS and post-injury performances.

          • MannyGeee

            slightly more comfortable than going into any day ever with Carlos Marmol anywhere near this roster.

  • Mandy Stankiewicz

    Speaking of closers, I hate Valverde’s face, so much…

  • Robinson Tilapia aka Melky’s Webmaster

    To be fair on the “vanished pitching depth” thing, one of those guys is currently in the MLB rotation, while the other netted you Ichiro in a time of need. It ain’t all “poof what happened” and shit.

    • http://fendersonandhampton.com Cuso

      My day-to-day is all “poof what happened” and shit

  • Lou

    Yankees should change their name to the NY Platoons. Home of the Roller Coaster Lineup the NY Platoons!

  • mick taylor

    next steroid cheat to get caught; edwin encarcion. look at his stats. since last year when he was cut by toronto and resigned when no other team wanted him. his stats. right now are better by far than any other full season in the majors.

  • Heisenberg’s Hat

    I can’t believe people are complaining about the Yankees platoon players. This team is the first one I can remember that actually had decent hitters on the bench i.e. platoon players.
    Still, it’s something new to complain about I guess.