Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Andy Pettitte: No Flash, All Bang

When is the last time Andy Pettitte celebrated a called strike or a great double play.  Unless it is the postseason, where this mild-mannered Texan has made his baseball career with the Yankees, you are not likely to see any type of emotion from Mr. Pettitte.

He simply grabs the ball every 5 days and heads to the mound.  Besides his "early" retirement and time on the DL last season, perhaps no other pitcher for the Yankees has been as consistent as Andy.  I would say it is safe to say that Girardi pencils a W in his notebook every time Pettitte is scheduled to pitch, probably even before the big man C.C.  While Sabathia brings the flash with his big fastball (not as fast as in 2010 of course), Pettitte brings the bang...as in more bang for your buck.  Each is likely to pitch deep into the ballgame thus saving the bullpen, but Andy doesn't cost an arm and 2 legs comparatively.

C.C. didn't have a very good first start (which is known to happen), but there was Andy to throw 8 strong innings and end a skid, like he has since the late 90's.  And here he is again, taking his turn in the rotation and shutting out a very young yet good hitting Cleveland team.  As I say that I just literally watched Asdrubal Cabrera hit a solo home run in the 6th off of Pettitte.  But Mr. Pettitte, as I'm sure he is called in the clubhouse, will bounce back and think nothing of that blip...he'll just keep pitching in a consistent manner giving his teammates in Pinstripes chance after chance to win...just as he has done now in 3 decades.

- Bryan Knepper

Happy 28th Birthday David Robertson

We want to wish Yankees 8th inning man David Robertson a very happy 28th birthday. Enjoy your day David!

Yankees Have $1.88 M To Spend On IFA Market

The Yankees have been slotted to have $1,877,900 million to spend on the international free agent market this season. The signing period begins on July 2nd and runs until next July. The Yankees have the third lowest total for the IFA market because they had the third best record in the league last season. The worst team, the Houston Astros, will have just under $5 million to spend on the international talent.

Cesar Cabral To Pitch On Friday

Cesar Cabral is expected to throw an extended spring training game on Friday for the first time since his fractured left throwing elbow. A Rule 5 draft pick from last year he almost made the team out of camp before the injury so the Yankees are hoping that he can regain some of that effectiveness from last year. Cabral must stay on the Yankees 25 man roster for at least 90 days or he will have to go back to the Red Sox. The Yankees will have a 30 day window to rehab him before having to add him and it is unclear whether this counts the clock or not but either way the Yankees bullpen needs to take notice because reinforcements are on the way.

Clay Rapada Signs A Minor League Deal

Clay Rapada is back with the Yankees after signing a minor league contract today. He is expected to be with Scranton by the end of the week working out of Railriders bullpen. Clay Rapada cannot return to the Yankees big league club until May 3rd at the earliest because of releasing and re-signing rules stated in the new collective bargaining agreement. The Yankees would need to make a move to add him to the 40 man roster if he did make it back to the majors so all the struggling Yankees bullpen guys better be on notice, starting now.

Derek Jeter & Curtis Granderson Injury Updates

Derek Jeter amped up his rehab today by running for the first time since his set back from his ankle injury. It was not a 100% run but it was definitely more than a jog so that is encouraging. He also took ground balls from side to side and took batting practice in the cage. Tomorrow Derek is scheduled to take batting practice outside so that should be interesting to watch.

Curtis Granderson has had his brace removed off of his fractured right forearm and has been cleared to swing a bat. Curtis will test out swinging a bat under water before trying it on the field but this is the best news we could have heard from Curtis.

New York Yankees @ Cleveland Indians 4/9

Don't look now Yankees fans but I think we have a winning streak going on right now after beating the Cleveland Indians yesterday and look to keep that going this afternoon. The Yankees will send Andy Pettitte to the mound to look to build on his 8 IP win in his last start against the Boston Red Sox. The Indians will send Carlos Carrasco to the mound to make his 2013 debut to face Andrew Eugene. The game will be televised on YES at 7:05 pm ET.

Middle Relief An Issue Early On

The Yankees bullpen was supposed to be a strength this year, just like it has been throughout the Joe Girardi era.  One of Girardi's biggest strengths as a manager has been his bullpen management, as he usually never overworks anybody.  Bad starting pitching has forced his hand this year, and other than David Robertson and Mariano Rivera, the bullpen has been terrible.

The Yankees bullpen has allowed 21 runs and 52 base runners over 25.2 innings this season. Yesterday, they turned a painless game into an annoying one, as they made closing out a 11-3 game a lot harder than it should have been. Shawn Kelley was awful, as he allowed three runs, three hits and a walk, over 1.1 innings. Kelley was selected to be on the roster over David Aardsma for his ability to pitch multiple innings, but in the second inning of his last two appearances he has allowed two and three runs respectively. His career fly ball percentage of 51.3% may not play well in Yankee Stadium, and his fastball has been down two MPH this year (90.4).

Also, contributing to yesterdays and this season’s poor bullpen performance was Joba Chamberlain. He did not allow a run yesterday, but he did walk two batters in the ninth inning of a 11-6 game, which is brutal. Chamberlain was throwing full count sliders with that 11-6 lead, which just made no sense. This is when he gets into trouble. He over thinks things and does not attack hitters enough. He has great stuff, yet is still always nibbling at the corners, as he has six walks already this year in only 2.2 innings.  The Yankees desperately need Chamberlain to get consistent and become a reliable pitcher in the seventh inning.

Boone Logan has not looked good for the Yankees either, which is a big problem since he is their only lefty. Clay Rapada got released because he was injured and the Yankees had a tight squeeze on the 40 man roster. Logan allowed a big three-run home run to Prince Fielder on Friday that blew the game open and could not retire him again on Saturday either, allowing a single. He threw 80 innings last year, which you might think could be the reason for his struggles now, but his velocity is essentially the same as last year, so it might just be a slow start. Logan was very good last year, as lefties only hit .231/.293/.372/.665 against him, so he deserves the benefit of the doubt. If he continues to struggle the Yankees could call up Vidal Nuno, who lit it up spring training, but he is not on the 40 man roster.

Chamberlain and Logan are the two most important players that have to get going because they are the most proven and have the talent. The Yankees have often gotten in-season reinforcements in the bullpen that nobody saw coming, so that is always possible. David Phelps, who has also been bad, Adam Warren and Kelley all have minor league options available. The Yankees might want to consider sending Phelps or Warren down to be stretched out as a sixth starter if one of the starters gets injured.

Obviously, we are dealing with a small sample size, so this is nothing to go crazy over yet, but it is something to keep a close eye on. On some level everybody team's middle relief is bad, since they are always the worst pitchers on a baseball team. Also, the starting pitchers pitching at least six innings is a good way to improve your middle relief, which has not been happening for the Yankees. This is a much better problem to have than having late inning issues or starting rotation issues because it is less important. However, if Rivera or Robertson were ever to get hurt than it would become a huge problem. The bullpen was supposed the be the biggest strength on the team and it needs to get turned around.

Game 8 Lineup: Yankees vs. Indians

Lineup vs. Indians:

Brett Gardner CF
Robinson Cano 2B
Kevin Youkilis 3B
Travis Hafner DH
Vernon Wells LF
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Eduardo Nunez SS
Lyle Overbay 1B
Francisco Cervelli C

LHP Andy Pettitte

Morning Bits: Cano & Hafner big day & RailRiders get first win of 2013

mug3Good morning all.   Nice win for the bombers yesterday afternoon as Cano finally woke up.   7PM start tonight as Pettitte will be on the mound.   Enjoy the day.

-- Erik Boland of Newsday writes the game review from Cano and Hafner's big day.

-- Bryan Hoch of MLB.com has lots of news and notes on the Yanks.

-- The Yankees AAA team The RailRiders record first victory of 2013.   Mesa had a solo homerun in the game.  Check out the recap from Andrew Kappes of Milb.com.