Fan Confidence Poll: April 26th, 2010

Record Last Week: 3-3 (36 RS, 20 RA)
Season Record: 12-6 (96 RS, 67 RA, 13-5 Pythag. record), 1.5 games back
Opponents This Week: Monday OFF, @ Baltimore (three games, Tues. to Thurs.), vs. White Sox (three games, Fri. to Sun.)

Top stories from last week:

Please take a second to answer the poll below and give us an idea of how confident you are in the team. You can view the Fan Confidence Graph anytime via the nav bar above, or by clicking here. Thanks in advance for voting.

Given the team's current roster construction, farm system, management, etc., how confident are you in the Yankees' overall future?
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Javy’s struggles continue in loss to Angels

For three innings it looked like Javy Vazquez might grind his way through a decent start. His fastball command wasn’t there yet again, but the Angels didn’t get much off him the first turn through. By the fourth, though, everything caught up with him. He wasn’t throwing many fastballs, he was nibbling with his secondary stuff, and eventually he hung a critical pitch or two. The offense had its own struggles outside of the second inning, but after his fourth straight not-so-good start, Vazquez once again finds himself the center of attention.

Biggest Hit: Jorge avenges Cano

Photo credit: Christine Cotter/AP

Scott Kazmir started the inning with two straight inside fastballs to Robinson Cano, the last of which caught him square on the backside. Two years ago that might have stung a bit more, but now Kazmir tops out at 90. The HBP to Cano crossed at 88. Kazmir went back to his fastball on the first pitch to Posada. This one clocked 89 mph, but more importantly caught all of the plate. Jorge did what any good hitter would do, sending it over the center field fence to give his team a 2-0 lead.

The second was the only good inning the Yankees put together. A batter after Jorge homered, Marcus Thames hit a shin-high changeup to the wall, Granderson sacrificed him to third — and nearly got himself on base — Cervelli walked, and Jeter eventually scored Thames on a fielder’s choice. Those three runs felt big at the time, like they were just the beginning. Kazmir got a handle of the game, though, and wouldn’t score again until the sixth.

Biggest Pitch: Wood gives the Angels the lead

Photo credit: Christine Cotter/AP

Through the first three innings it looked like Vazquez might get through the start without any serious damage. After recording the first out in the fourth, Vazquez allowed a single, hit a batter, and gave up another single. That put the Angels on the board and set them up with runners in first and second with one out. That turned into a bases loaded situation six pitches later, after Vazquez walked Mike Napoli.

The good news: hey, it’s Brandon Wood, and he’s barely hitting .100. The bad news: oh look, hanging curveball. The Vazquez pitch stayed high in the zone, and Wood smacked it to left. Marcus Thames tried to make a play, but just couldn’t get to the ball in time. It fell right in front of him, then got behind him. Two Angels scored, giving them their first lead of the game.

Thames has hit well in his role as lefty masher this year, but he gives bak plenty of that production in the field. This is the second big run-scoring play that Gardner would have fielded. This is why defense matters. If Gardner makes that play, the Angels are held in check and the Yankees leave the inning with a lead. Of course, Thames had scored after a double earlier in the game, so it’s not a universal positive. But Gardner has been far from a liability on offense lately.

Honorable Mention: Morales’s blast

Photo credit: Christine Cotter/AP

There seemed to be a bit of confusion to start Kendry Morales’s at-bat in the seventh. Francisco Cervelli stood up and held out his arm, signaling for an intentional walk. This seemed like an odd maneuver. Morales hit well in the series, but he’s a much weaker hitter from the right side. Runners stood on first and second, so to walk Morales would give the Angels another runner in scoring position.

Apparently Girardi changed his mind after the first ball and let Marte pitch to Morales. That seemed like the right decision. They needed just one more out, and it’s probably not a good idea to walk the bases loaded when it forces two runners ahead. Marte didn’t hold up his end of the bargain, though. After two fastballs outside to put Morales ahead 3-0. The dugout warned Cervelli that Morales will swing 3-0, but he went back to the fastball anyway, this time one in the zone low and away. Morales, guessing fastball all the way, laid into it and crushed it over the center field wall to ice the game.

After the game Girardi said that he screwed up, but I think the only thing he’s guilty of is indecisiveness. I do not, however, think that an intentional walk was the right call.

Vazquez’s issues continue

Photo credit: Christine Cotter/AP

Vazquez threw 78 pitches through 3.2 innings, and only 29 of them were fastballs. This isn’t necessarily a bad strategy, since Vazquez does sport a good secondary repertoire. But it appears that his fastball velocity is a bit down this year, and he clearly isn’t commanding the pitch. Until he works out those issues we’ll just have to hope for non-disastrous starts. I do have confidence that he can find what’s wrong and correct it, as long as that problem doesn’t require medical attention.

His next start doesn’t come until Saturday, so he’ll have a five-day breather between now and then. I doubt he’ll miraculously round into form between starts, but he has to be better than yesterday, right? At least next weekend he won’t have to face Bobby Abreu.

WPA Chart

Ug-lee.

Next Up

The Yanks take tomorrow off to fly back east. They’ll be in Baltimore on Tuesday, with Phil Hughes taking the mound. Kevin Millwood goes for the Orioles.

Nunez & Romine keep on raking

In case you missed it, Chris Garcia had his second Tommy John surgery. Also, scroll down for tonight’s open thread.

Triple-A Scranton (5-4 win over Lehigh Valley)
Kevin Russo, 2B: 2 for 4, 2 R, 1 3B, 1 BB, 1 K - just his fourth extra base hit of the year … all the others are doubles
Colin Curtis, RF: 1 for 3, 2 R, 1 RBI, 2 BB
Eduardo Nunez, 3B: 4 for 4, 2 2B, 3 RBI – he’s 16 for his last 33 (.485) with more walks (fours) than strikeouts (one)
Juan Miranda, 1B: 0 for 2, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K
David Winfree, LF: 1 for 4, 1 K
Jesus Montero, C: 0 for 4, 2 K - he’s just 2 for his last 19 (.105) … don’t worry, Jesus’ bat with resurrect soon enough
Jon Weber, DH & Reegie Corona, SS: both 0 for 3, 1 BB - Corona scored a run & committed a throwing error
Greg Golson, CF: 0 for 4
Romulo Sanchez: 6 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 2 WP, 7-2 GB/FB – 54 of 88 pitches were strikes (61.4%) … picked an old friend off first … finally brings his season K/BB ratio up over 1.00
Kevin Whelan: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 1-1 GB/FB – seven of his ten pitches were strikes
Royce Ring: 0.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K – six of his 11 pitches were strikes
Mark Melancon: 1.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 1-3 GB/FB – 13 of 17 pitches were strikes (76.5%)
Jon Albaladejo: 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 0-2 GB/FB – 12 of 22 pitches were strikes (54.5%)

[Read more…]

Open Thread: Escape from LA Anaheim

Photo Credit: Chris Carlson, AP

Well I’m glad that’s over with. The Yankees don’t have to go back to Anaheim again this season, unless they happen to meet the Angels in the playoffs yet again. I’m not going to complain about a 3-3 west coast road trip, but I’m sure plenty of people will. Next up is a stop at the White House and a date with the 3-16 Orioles. I can’t wait.

Here’s your open thread for the evening. The Mets and Braves are your late ESPN Sunday night game (Pelfrey vs. Hanson), and you’ve also got NBA and NHL playoff action on as well. Talk about whatever your heart desires, just be nice to each other — and Javier Vazquez too.

Garcia undergoes second Tommy John surgery

Via Josh Norris, Chris Garcia had his second Tommy John surgery in four years last Tuesday. He missed the entire 2007 season the first time he had the procedure. Apparently the doctors had a little trouble when they took the replacement ligament from his knee. With any luck, Garcia will be throwing off a mound by Spring Training and ready to return to game action by May.

Whenever the Yankees need a 40-man roster spot this season, the first thing they’ll do is call up Garcia and place him on the 60-day disabled list. There’s no point in doing that now because he’ll accrue service time while on the DL, and there’s no benefit to starting his clock before it’s absolutely necessary.

Game 18: One more win in Anaheim

If the Yankees can pull off a victory in this afternoon’s game they’ll finish 4-2 on their mini West Coast trip. That seems to be the theme of the season so far: two out of three. It would also give them a 9-3 record during their recent tour of the AL West.

Their chance will come against a familiar face, the lefty Scott Kazmir. It’s hard to believe that this is his sixth full season in the majors. He originally got the call in 2004, just after his trade to the Devil Rays, and since then has pitched at least 144 innings in each season. Things went well until last year, when his ERA ballooned to 4.89 and the Rays traded him to Anaheim in August.

Kazmir, who has generally pitched well against the Yankees, struggled during his first start against them this year. In four innings he allowed eight hits and walked three, leading to six Yankee runs. The three home runs did not help his case. He recovered a bit with a good start against Detroit, but even then he had to leave the game after 5.2 innings and 99 pitches. His seven strikeouts to no walks in that game bode well, but the Yankees feature a lineup much more patient than the Tigers.

It has been a tumultuous return trip to the Yankees for Javy Vazquez so far. With each start he’s gotten a little bit better, though, so maybe today he puts it all together. We know what Vazquez can do — he’s been a solid, durable starter throughout his career, second half of 2004 notwithstanding. Part of his problem has been with command, particularly with his fastball. It seems like Jorge has to move the mitt on every one of them. This has led to eight walks in 16.1 innings for Vazquez, a mark far above his normal rate.

Cervelli gets another start behind the plate while Posada moves into the DH spot. Brett Gardner gets a day off, which is kind of baffling after his last couple of days. I’d be more inclined to catch Jorge and DH Thames, but apparently Girardi wants to get Cervelli in there against Vazquez, whom he has not caught yet this year.

Lineup:

1. Derek Jeter, SS
2. Nick Swisher, RF
3. Mark Teixeira, 1B
4. Alex Rodriguez, 3B
5. Robinson Cano, 2B
6. Jorge Posada, C
7. Marcus Thames, LF
8. Curtis Granderson, CF
9. Francisco Cervelli, C

And on the mound, number thirty-one, Javier Vazquez.

Breaking News: Cody Ransom gets his World Series ring

I know you were all worried, but our long national nightmare is over. Conor Foley reports that before last night’s Triple-A Scranton game, manager Dave Miley presented Cody Ransom with his 2009 World Series ring. Ransom was in town with the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs, Philadelphia’s Triple-A affiliate. Last year’s Opening Day third basemen put up a sparkling .265 wOBA for the Yanks, and prior to the season some people actually thought he was a better option than Alex Rodriguez. I can’t seem to find that article online anymore, though.

So, how long until it ends up on eBay?