Saturday, October 13, 2012

Nunez Out, Nix In

By now I'm sure you've read that the Yankees have removed Eduardo Nunez from the roster for the AL Championship Series, and placed Cody Eppley on it.

Get out!

The first thing this tells me is that the team feels good about the health of Derek Jeter, who was hit in the foot by his own foul ball in Game 3. Jeter was the DH in Game 4, before returning to his rightful spot at shortstop in Game 5. There's no way the Yankees would have gone into the ALCS with only one middle infielder on the bench, if they didn't think Jeter was 100%. Then again, it would take the entire cast of The Expendables to keep Derek down.

Speaking of injuries, it also tells me that perhaps Joba Chamberlain isn't "fine", as he said after Game 5. It could have nothing to do with bringing Eppley onto the roster, but Girardi may be playing things safe by having Cody around just in case Joba goes out and his elbow explodes after throwing a pitch. Knowing what Joba's gone through, though, I tend to believe that he'll be fine if called upon tonight to pitch.

Although it would be nice to have a second middle infielder on the bench in case the worst happens, and both Robinson Cano and Derek Jeter need to be removed from a game, that's hardly a great reason to keep Nunez around. Eddie has hit .286/.289/.429 over his last 38 plate appearances, and when you add that to his issues on defense, I don't think we're really going to miss him.

"Not to mention that I'm a bad-ass."

But was it necessary to add somebody to the bullpen? In my opinion... yes and no. I know, not a great answer, but bear with me.

With Joba Chamberlain, David Phelps, and Derek Lowe, I think the bullpen had enough righties to get by. But when you look at the extreme splits that Clay Rapada and Boone Logan have, you can't argue against having another right-hander in the bullpen against a righty-heavy Detroit lineup (Prince Fielder is the only lefty I'm concerned about, although Andy Dirks does have a .322 batting average this season). Left-handed batters hit .168/.257/.236 in Rapada's career, while righties hit .342/.459/.613. Meanwhile Logan has given up a line of .246/.317/.379 to lefties, and .302/.387/.477 to righties. So there's no way I'd trust Clay or Boone against a right-handed bat, be that Miguel Cabrera or even Omar Infante.

"You talking trash about me?"

When it comes down to it, if the Yankees needed to play either Eduardo Nunez or Cody Eppley, then chances are we aren't winning that game.

As a reminder, here is the Yankees roster for the ALCS...

CC Sabathia
Andy Pettitte
Hiroki Kuroda
Phil Hughes
Rafael Soriano
Dave Robertson
Boone Logan
Joba Chamberlain
Clay Rapada
Cody Eppley
David Phelps
Derek Lowe

Russell Martin
Chris Stewart

Mark Teixeira
Robinson Cano
Derek Jeter
Alex Rodriguez
Eric Chavez
Jayson Nix

Curtis Granderson
Nick Swisher
Ichiro Suzuki
Raul Ibanez
Brett Gardner

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)