All around baseball this year, guys are just dropping like flies due to injuries. You can’t go a day without hearing about another strained hammy or sore forearm. What causing it, who knows. Maybe guys just aren’t training as hard as they used to, or maybe they aren’t training as smart as they should be, or heck, maybe they are just breaking down from years of steriod use. The Yanks minor league system has had to deal with the injuries as well, moreso than I can ever remember in years past.
Here’s the latest info on the minor league walking wounded:
Somewhat lost in the Bobby Abreu/Robinson Cano debacle of late has been the performance of Alex Rodriguez. While A-Rod‘s stats overall â€” .329/.407/.714 with 15 HR and 39 RBI â€” are still exception, his season has been some of a Jekyll and Hyde performance so far.
Through the first 18 games of the year, Alex Rodriguez had 75 at bats and was an absolute beast. He hit .400 with a .453 OBP and a whopping 1.053 slugging percentage. As we all know, he had 14 home runs, 7 doubles and 34 RBIs. He was hitting home runs at a pace of one every 5.36 at bats.
But in the 18 games since then, a different Alex Rodriguez has emerged. In 65 at bats, Alex has hit .246 with a pedestrian .355 OBP and a pathetic .323 slugging percentage. He has 3 extra base hits â€” 1 home run, 2 doubles â€” and just 5 RBI in this stretch of games. For those of you keeping score at home, that’s 1 HR every 65 at bats.
So what’s the real Alex Rodriguez? For all of his recent struggles, A-Rod is still on pace for 68 HR and 176 RBI. If he can rediscover his power stroke soon, things will be looking up for A-Rod. He just missed in Seattle, driving two balls to the wall in the deepest parts of a vast outfield. Are we about to see another HR tear from A-Rod? It couldn’t come at a better time.
I know that these guys are rooting for April Alex to return and carry the Yankees through to the end of May. I fear that if his stroke doesn’t come back, the Yankee boo birds may return, making this summer a long one from Alex as that opt-out clause comes do.
It’s never a dull moment around these Yankees, eh?
Triple-A Scranton (9-1 win over Columbus)
Kevin Thompson: 2 for 5, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 1 K, 1 E (fielding)
Chris Basak: 3 for 5, 1 R, 2 2B, 1 RBI – 8 doubles in last 9 games
Andy Phillips: 2 for 4, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB
Bronson Sardinha: 2 for 4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 SB
Shelley Duncan: 2 for 5, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 K -Â 6 XBH in lastÂ 4 games…for the love of God, get him in the bigs before he cools off and this is all for naught!!!
Alberto Gonzalez: 0 for 4, 1 R, 1 K, 1 HBP
Omir Santos: 1 for 3, 2 R, 1 HR, 2 K, 1 HBP, 1 PB
Chase Wright: 6.1 IP, 8 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K
Jim Brower: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 WP
Since Saint Phil graduated to the majors, we felt it was time to freshen things up around here at RAB. If you take a gander over to the left, you’ll notice that the famedÂ ”Hughes Watch” is gone, and in it’s place is the “Joba Watch.” Follow along as I chronicle the adventures of everyone’s favorite Native American with a Star Wars themed name as he crusades up the minor league ladder and into your living room. Well, not literally in your living room of course, but on your TV.
It’s hard to call 12 games in the middle of May do-or-die time for a season, but that’s what the Yankees are facing over the next two weeks. Sitting eight games out of first and with Baseball Prospectus’ Playoff Odds report show the Yankees making the playoffs just 22 percent of the time and winning the division just 4 percent of the time, it’s time to start winning.
The Yankees started May with something of a softball schedule. They had 13 contests against the Mariners and Rangers, two middling teams who have inhabited the bottom of the AL West for the better part of the last few seasons. The Yanks went a respectable 8-5 but lost a few games they should have won. A 10-3 record was not out of the question, and now the Yanks find themselves 8 games behind the Red Sox.
The Yanks, as Steve Lombardi notes, have not been 8 games out of first this early in the season since 1984. I was one year old at the time. Ah, yes, I remember it well.
So now, the schedule shifts. Instead of the bottom-dwellers, the Yankees play three teams in playoff spots and the White Sox, no slouch of ballclub. Before a three-game set at the end of May against the Walking Wounded, the Yanks are set to face the White Sox, the Mets, the Red Sox and the dreaded Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, a team the Yankees never seem to beat. Those teams are currently a combined 30 games over .500.
So this is the first real test, and if the Yanks can’t go at least 7-5 during this stretch of baseball, including two out of three from Boston. Things will look decidedly Not Good by the end of May.
For everyone awaiting Roger Clemens’ arrival atop his white horse coming to save the Yankees, be prepared for disappointment. Roger Clemens isn’t the answer to this team’s woes. He can’t bat second; he can’t play right field. He can’t compel A-Rod and Jason Giambi and Bobby Abreu and Robinson Cano to snap out of slumps that have lasted for weeks.
I like to maintain a healthy level of optimism and faith in the Yankees with just over three-quarters of the season left, but these next 12 games are important. We can’t just overlook that.
Today is going to be a bad traffic day for the blog. I know this, because it happens on days when I’m frustrated the most — meaning the Yankees have lost a game (or, more accurately, multiple games) that they should have won. The worst part was that the season-series-deciding game was lost to a soft-tossing lefty whom the Yanks should have destroyed. Such is the frustration with the team this year: we get beat up by no names, and lay into guys like Josh Beckett, supposedly the best pitcher in the league right now.
The worst part about yesterday: it marked the third time that the Yankees lost while allowing their opponent three runs or less. As stated Saturday, all three have been to the Mariners. So there’s room for hope there, I suppose, since the Ms don’t appear on the schedule for the remainder of the season.
The almost-worst part about yesterday: Boston scored six runs in the ninth in a comeback victory against the Orioles. Yeah, we really shouldn’t be watching what Boston’s doing at this point, because there are still 13 head-to-head bouts with them, meaning any amount of ground can really be made up. However, if the Yanks could only take eight of 13 from the Rangers and Mariners, how are they going to take 10 of 13 from the Sox (which they’ll basically need to do at this point)?
Maybe the off-day will help. After all, the pitching has come around this month, so as soon as they can get the bats and the arms going at the same time, they should rattle off a few winning streaks…right? Other than the two blowouts, the Yanks have only allowed 21 runs over 11 games (but then 29 in the other two). The arms will get another break with the light-hitting White Sox (team averages of .220/.299/.360) — though four of their five starters have ERAs under 4.00. The real challenges come next in the Mets (.284/.354/.449) and the Red Sox (.278/.367/.443).
Last 7 days
Here‘s what Joba had to say about his hitless outing yesterday.Â
TJ Beam hasn’t pitching a game since May 3rd. Make of it what you will, but it’s funny how no one’s missed him…
Triple-A Scranton (5-2 loss to Columbus)
Kevin Thompson: 1 for 5, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 K, 1 E (fielding)
Chris Basak: 2 for 5, 1 2B, 1 SB
Andy Phillips: 0 for 3, 2 BB
Bronson Sardinha: 0 for 2, 2 BB, 1 E (throwing)
Shelley Duncan: 1 for 2, 1 2B, 2 BB – 18 XBH in 31 games…
Eric Duncan: 0 for too many to count (4 really)
Alberto Gonzalez: 0 for 3, 1 R, 1 BB – OPS is entering dangerous territory (I’m talking sub-.600)
Steven Jackson: 5 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 5 BB, 3 K, 8-4 GB/FB – only 57 of 107 pitches were strikes (53.3%)
Ben Kozlowski: 1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K
Charlie Manning: 2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 K
Josh Beckett having trouble with the skin on his finger? You don’t say. · (1) ·
I checked on the scores earlier this afternoon, and when I looked at the continuation of yesterday’s Tampa Yanks suspended game, the box score said Christian Garcia was pitching for Tampa. Garcia, as you may recall, is out for the year with elbow surgery. I hit refresh, and the box score was corrected to show that Wilkins Arias was pitching. Talk about getting your hopes up…
Triple-A Scranton (6-3 win over Columbus)
Andy Phillips: 2 for 4, 2 R
Eric Duncan: 0 for 4 – 0 for last 11…at least (I’m too lazy the check the game log of the last game in which he actually got a hit, so that could be as much as 0 for 13)
Shelley Duncan: 2 for 4, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 1 RBI – .330-.398-.689-1.088, stick Matsui in RF, bench Bobby, and let Shelley play LF
Bronson Sardinha: 1 for 4, 1 R, 1 K
Omir Santos: 2 for 4, 1 R, 1 K
Tyler Clippard: 5.1 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 K – 56 baserunners allowed in 38.2 IP, and lefties are giving him some trouble
Chris Britton: 1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K – bumped from the closer’s role…
Everyday Ronnie: .2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K – 5 of 7 pitches were strikes, only 3 days until he can opt out…
Jim Brower: 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 5-0 GB/FB