Yankees lose Kuroda in loss to Red Sox

It’s only been two games, but the Yankees look about as flat and uninteresting as I can ever remember. It’s basically everything that was said about the team during the offseason and Spring Training come to life — the old players look washed up and the young guys aren’t really good enough. Two games into the season, the Yankees have scored six runs and surrendered 15.

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

A Pronk’s Bomber
The Yankees tried the small ball/extended rally thing on Opening Day and the result was a non-competitive showing on offense. On Wednesday they got back to doing what they do best, and that’s clobbering the ball over the fence for homers. Travis Hafner (solo) and Vernon Wells (three-run) both hit their first homers in pinstripes, though in both cases they were too little too late. The Yankees were down six when Wells hit his off Aceves in the eighth.

Unlike the last … I dunno, 15 years or so, it doesn’t feel like the Yankees can score runs at any time this year. The lineup just isn’t good enough. In the past they had lineups that were deep with power and patience, but now they have a bunch of slap-hitters in front of Robinson Cano and reclamation projects in the middle of the order. They put the token runner on-base every so often but it never really feels like this lineup is a threat. I dunno, maybe it’s just me.

Oh No #HIROK
Losing sucks and all that, but I would gladly trade a loss in the standings for a healthy Hiroki Kuroda. The right-hander looked a little shaky — command wasn’t great but he was battling, as usual — before this happened leading off the second:

That ball hit Kuroda in the finger tips and forced him from the game with a contusion. He actually stayed in and faced a few more hitters after throwing some warm-up pitches for the trainer, but his command was completely gone and it was obvious something was wrong. Thankfully x-rays were negative and it’s just a bruise.

Warren Saves The Day
One of the few good things to come out of Wednesday’s loss was Adam Warren‘s long-relief performance, which if nothing else moved the game along quickly and got it over with at a reasonable time. He allowed two inherited runners to score but spared the rest of the bullpen by throwing 5.1 innings of one-run ball on 86 pitches. Warren allowed five hits and one walk against four strikeouts while showing off a real nice changeup. If Kuroda winds up missing a start due to the finger, Warren put himself in position to enter the rotation. He’s been the bright spot of the two-game-old season.

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Leftovers
It’s pretty silly that the Yankees cut David Aardsma because he couldn’t throw multiple innings and instead kept Cody Eppley, who can’t get lefties out. Sure enough, Joe Girardi allowed him to face multiple left-handed hitters on Wednesday and the result was multiple runs (three and two, respectively). The game was effectively over once Eppley worked his magic.

How about defense-first catcher Chris Stewart? He let an Eppley pitch get by him to advance a runner and also made an off-line throw to second on a stolen base attempt. To his credit, did he make a great catch along the third base dugout railing and nearly flipped over. That play earned him another ten weeks of playing time, I’m sure. Stewart went 0-for-2 before being lifted for a pinch-hitter and hit one ball to the warning track, which should really count as a homer for him.

Wells actually had three hits, believe it or not. Kevin Youkilis and Eduardo Nunez chipped in two apiece while Hafner and Lyle Overbay each had one hit. The top three hitters in the lineup went a combined 0-for-12 with a walk (Ichiro Suzuki) and a hit-by-pitch (Ben Francisco pinch-hitting for Ichiro). Nunez also drew a walk and committed an error, but it was a tough play. It’s easy to pile on him for the defense but he deserves a pass for that one, it was a hard-hit short-hop grounder.

Didn’t realize this the other day, but six players made their Yankees debut on Monday. That’s the most since the franchise’s very first game (!), and I’m talking about 1903 with the Highlanders. Yikes.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs the nerdy stats, and ESPN the updated standings.


Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
The Yankees will try to salvage this sorry excuse of a series on Thursday night, when Andy Pettitte gets the ball against new Red Sox right-hander Ryan Dempster. If you want to catch the game and yell at the players, check out RAB Tickets for some deals.

Updates: Kuroda day-to-day with bruised middle finger after line drive

10:50pm: “He’s okay. Bruised middle finger,” said Joe Girardi after the game. It’s still to early to know if he will make his next scheduled start, however. A bruise is good news.

8:28pm: Kuroda has a contusion on his finger and will go for x-rays tonight. So … continue to stay tuned for updates.

7:52pm: Hiroki Kuroda left tonight’s game after taking a line drive off his right finger tips. He threw some warm up pitches and remained in the game for a few batters, but he had no idea where the ball was going and it was obvious something was wrong. Stay tuned for updates.

Game Two: The Grind Begins

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

All the pomp and circumstance of Opening Day is over. We’re beyond the base line introductions and we’ve already seen all the new faces in pinstripes, now it’s time to get back to the day in, day out grind of baseball. One game after another, day after day. The everyday schedule is both beautiful and without mercy, caring not about bad timing or injuries or anything else. As the old saying goes, playing everyday is both the best and worst thing about baseball.

After facing left-hander Jon Lester on Opening Day, the Yankees will be able to trot out their A-lineup against right-hander Clay Buchholz this evening. Well, at least what’s left of their A-lineup anyway. I don’t think I’m alone in saying I’d much rather than Travis Hafner and Lyle Overbay in the lineup than Ben Francisco and Jayson Nix. Either way, it’s time to #HIROK. Here’s the lineup…

  1. CF Brett Gardner
  2. RF Ichiro Suzuki
  3. 2B Robinson Cano
  4. 3B Kevin Youkilis
  5. DH Travis Hafner
  6. LF Vernon Wells
  7. 1B Lyle Overbay
  8. SS Eduardo Nunez
  9. C Chris Stewart

And on the mound is number eighteen, Hiroki Kuroda.

It is brutally cold in New York and I’m not sure how that will impact the game. Maybe the pitchers will have trouble gripping the ball or maybe the hitters will be in agony when they make contact. Who knows. The game is scheduled to start a little after 7pm ET and can be seen on YES locally and ESPN2 nationally. Enjoy.

Derek Jeter Update: The Cap’n did some strengthening exercises and played long-toss in Tampa today, but he hasn’t done any running or hitting since receiving a cortisone shot and being shut down with lingering soreness in his surgically repaired left ankle.

Yankees set all-time record with $230.4M payroll

Via the AP: The Yankees opened the season with a $230.4M payroll, breaking their previous record for the highest payroll in baseball history. “We’re the Yankees. We’ve had a lot of success doing business the way that we do it … Why would you change?” said Mark Teixeira, apparently unaware of his bosses’ future plans.

The Dodgers, who opened the season with a $214.8M payroll, were expected to pass the Yankees and claim the highest payroll in baseball this season. Late Spring Training additions like Lyle Overbay and (especially) Vernon Wells pushed New York back on top. The Yankees have something like $91M in players on the DL right now, so that $230.4M payroll isn’t reflected in the quality of the roster. You knew that already. At $27.3M, the Astros started the year with baseball’s smallest payroll.

Yankees release Clay Rapada

The Yankees have given Clay Rapada his unconditional release, the team announced. He was designated for assignment on Sunday to clear room on the 40-man roster for Lyle Overbay. The release tells us he cleared waivers.

Rapada, 32, is currently sidelined with shoulder bursitis and as far as I know there is no timetable for his return. The funky southpaw is a true lefty specialist — career .231 wOBA against lefties but .453 against righties — which is an area the Yankees have some depth. I’m guessing the team will at least try to re-sign him to a minor league contract, but who knows how that will go.

MLB At Bat on iPad means baseball on my TV

Just because apps share a name does not mean they are equals. Last week I reviewed MLB At Bat for Android and came away thoroughly impressed. Yet that app has a few differences from its iPhone and iPad counterparts. Since I use an iPad and not an iPhone, I figure reviewing the iPad app is a bit more appropriate. It represents another win for MLB Advanced Media.

Gameday

AtBatGameday

The most prominent feature of MLB At Bat for iPad is Gameday. When you open the app you go to that screen by default. When there are no games playing you’ll see a rundown of the previous day’s scores on top, with the first game recap in the middle of the screen.

Here you can read the game story from each team, right from their MLB.com beat writers. You can check the box, the play-by-play, and watch video highlights. Each player’s name is clickable, so you can pull up a quick player card with his numbers from that game, plus a few select splits.

One thing I’ve always liked about Gameday in iPad is how they use the real home stadium in the background. And by real, I mean the rendered version from the MLB The Show video game. You don’t get accurate representations of each individual batter, which would be a neat effect. But overall it’s a neat little feauture.

When live there is perhaps no better Gameday interface. You can view lineups, box scores, play-by-play (including scoring plays), and more right from the Gameday interface. It also gives you the pitch-by-pitch breakdown of the current at-bat.

My only complaint here is that there is no way to check the play-by-play in the archive. MLB has generally cut out pitch-by-pitch Gameday breakdowns in all formats, which is a shame.

Stats

AtBatStats

As you might imagine, the stats interface is a bit more robust on a tablet than it is on a smartphone. Since there is more screen real estate they can afford to provide more than the basics. When you click on the stats tab you’ll go right to the 2013 MLB player batting leaders. It might not be the FanGrapsh leader board, but it’s also not the archaic stats pages we’ve seen in the past.

It contains your typical counting stats, plus triple slash stats and OPS. It would be super nice to have OPS+ in there, therefore turning it into something like Baseball Reference. But all considered, this isn’t half bad. Sorting is as easy as tapping the stat at the top of the screen.

Click on a player’s name and you’ll go not to a new screen, but to a pop-up. That’s nice, because it keeps you on the stats screen. The player card has a quick summary of biographical information, a small stats screen that contains just AB, HR, RBI, AVG, and OBP, plus fantasy news.

There are a few ways you can manipulate the results, beyond sorting by clicking. You can toggle between player stats and team stats by clicking at the top of the page. You can also filter by position and league. Looking for a different season, or perhaps spring training and postseason stats? You can click on the Timeframe tab and find those. Again, it’s not what we expect given the huge stats databases on the web. But it’s much better than in years past.

News

AtBatNews

The news section is either redesigned for 2013, or else I never checked it in 2012. It’s actually a great interface, resembling tablet aggregation apps like Flipboard and Zite. It defaults to general MLB news, and you can flip through multiple pages of the day’s top stories. Click the MLB News tab at the top of the page and you can select team-specific feeds — with your favorite team on top, of course.

I have to say that the new interface has me using the News feature much more often than I have in the past (considering I never used it last year). Since I use Zite and Flipboard often, the interface is familiar and welcome. The stories are laid out in traditional columns, too, making the reading even easier.

Perhaps my favorite feature of the news section is clickable video. If you see the play button, you can click it and the video will play right inside the news section. You can go full screen with another touch — the video will automatically minimize when it’s done, leaving you back at the news screen. I’m genuinely excited for this news app this year.

MLB.tv

AtBatGame

Yes, you can hook up your MLB.tv account to At Bat for iPad. In fact, I can’t imagine having At Bat without my MLB.tv account. Tablets are simply wonderful for streaming video. MLBAM has clearly prioritized streaming video, and has improved the quality of its feeds in recent years. The feed on the At Bat app is especially awesome, because it doesn’t use Flash. Honestly, the continued use of Flash for desktop streaming makes me never want to use it. We can only hope they adopt an HTML5 web streaming standard for 2014.

When you play your video you’ll have to overlay options. The first is for box score and play-by-play, which you can show and hide by dragging from the right side of the screen. The second sits atop the screen, filling otherwise black space. It’s the day’s scoreboard. You can use this to switch among any number of games. It gives you the base-out situation and score, so you can flip to any game at its most intense.

What has become an essential accessory for At Bat on my iPad is Apple TV. Yes, you can access MLB.tv from it, but that’s not the best use. If you have an Apple TV, you’ll notice a little triangle in the controls panel. Click that and you can send the feed right to your TV. As you might expect, it looks superb on plasma TVs and other HDTVs. It always amazes me a little that we can stream high-quality video on our TVs. It’s truly a sight to behold.

The advantage of using the iPad over the Apple TV interface, of course, is navigation. It’s just easier to flip between games on your iPad, given the scoreboard controls. At just $99 for the Apple TV unit, I’m not going to complain much about price.

As with the Android version, MLB At Bat for iPad is free to download, but requires a $20 subscription to access its features. MLB.tv premium runs $120 for the year, and is a must-have for baseball fans.

King: Ty Hensley out 2-3 months following hip surgery

Via George King: Right-hander Ty Hensley will miss 2-3 months after having surgery to repair a bone impingement in his right hip today. “He had a pulled abdominal and it turned out this was the cause,” said VP of Baseball Ops Mark Newman. Dr. Bryan Kelly, who performed Alex Rodriguez‘s recent hip surgery, will do the procedure.

Hensley, 19, was the Yankees’ first round pick (30th overall) last summer. He agreed to a $1.6M bonus shortly after the draft, but a pre-signing physical revealed a shoulder “abnormality” and the bonus was adjusted down to $1.2M. The Oklahoma native allowed four earned runs with 14 strikeouts in 12 innings for the Rookie Level Gulf Coast League Yankees after signing. Hensley ranked eighth on my Preseason Top 30 Prospects List and it sounds like he might be healthy in time for the short season leagues in June. Who knows with hips though.