Monday, June 26, 2017

THE WHEELS ARE COMING OFF THE YANKEE ROTATION

Source: Elsa/Getty Images North America
"Michael Pineda has Cy Young-caliber stuff.

"His fastball. His slider. His changeup. All potentially dominant pitches.

"CC Sabathia knows it. Pineda knows it, too.

“I always come in and say this is the year he’s going to win the Cy Young,” Sabathia said Tuesday. “He’s got so much talent, and he just needs to put it all together but he’s right there.”

"Told of Sabathia’s praise a day later, Pineda laughed and smiled. “Yeah, I know I have that ability,” he said."

Those were the days, huh? That was the Daily News, folks.

(June 6, 2017 - Source: Elsa/Getty Images North America)     
Those days were only four months ago, to be exact, and if you were buying it then congratulations. Your official pinstripe rose-colored glasses should be in the mail to you right about now.

That was pretty bold talk from both CC and Big Mike after three seasons that saw the latter go 23-27 with a 4.10 ERA and coming off a year he went 6-12 with a 4.82 ERA while coughing up 27 dingers.

Source: New York Daily News
Of course, there were those 207 strikeouts over 175 innings to dream on. Like AJ Burnett before him, the stuff to make bats miss has always been part of Mike's resume. And also like Burnett, there's always been a scary instability  to blow up like a vial of fulminated mercury at a moment's notice in his makeup as well.

In this, his walk year, though, he's proving to be who he always was: Burnett.

Burnett's Yankee years: 34-35  4.79 ERA  99 starts
Pineda's Yankee years: 30-30 4.01 ERA 86 starts

(May 21, 2017 - Source: Elsa/Getty Images North America)     
Following Sunday's four-inning, seven-run stink bomb that once again saw the Yankees' bullpen burned up in a losing effort, per the Post's Joel Sherman: "Girardi said he “didn’t want to make a bigger deal than it is” about Pineda’s poor pitching because the manager described it as “the first time” that the righty did not do well in minimizing damage this year. But after the first two months, when he was 6-2 with a 3.32 ERA, Pineda went 1-2 in June with a 5.85 ERA and .316 average against."

"This dichotomy played to who Pineda has been as a Yankee — the stuff is there to tease that consistent excellence is possible. But the track record is pretty well established that Pineda will not sustain that level. His constant is inconsistency.

"And these Yankees really do need the best version of Pineda for 2017 to be more than just seeing silver linings.


"Luis Severino and Jordan Montgomery actually have been the Yankees’ best starters. But it should be remembered that they have never pitched a full major league season in a rotation, and that both probably have innings caps to which the Yankees will adhere.

"That duo won the Nos. 4 and 5 jobs in spring with the Yanks hoping Masahiro Tanaka, CC Sabathia and Pineda could form a sturdy top 3. Sabathia is on the DL, though getting closer to a return. Tanaka had a terrific start Friday, and the Yankees want to believe again that is a trigger — with him working up in the zone a little more with his fastball — that top-of-the-rotation results will regularly follow.


"And then there is Pineda, who Sunday became the first Yankees starter in 2017 not named Tanaka to allow three homers in a game. The skill is in there, but his June of bad start, good start, bad start, good start, bad start felt like a familiar one-step-forward, one-back pattern for him while in pinstripes.

"The Yankees could conceivably try to upgrade the rotation by promoting Chance Adams or finding a trade. But that would mean counting on another youngster and/or unearthing an available quality rotation arm and being able to complete a trade for it when other contenders, notably the Astros, will be hunting the same species.

"For now, the rotation you see is the rotation you get. Which means the Yankees remain in that most uncomfortable of positions — needing to depend on the undependable Michael Pineda."

In other words, this team needs more than a trade and a Chance to fix what ails its rotation if it hopes to lock up the division and make a deep, meaningful run at a ring.

It needs to be rebuilt from the top down.

That'll be costly and not likely compatible with the season's primary objective of constructing a self-sustaining  winning franchise for the future.


Quality pitching is never more expensive than it is at the trade deadline. And as much as I've been a believer in going all in this year when there was still a chance to bury the competition, some poor luck combined with some poor arms management in the dugout have combined to allow too many wounded rivals to recover from early knockout blows and get back into the postseason race.

Now with injuries piling up for the Yankees, their flawed rotation exposed and burning up their bullpen and blunting their momentum, and innings limits looming for their only two remaining "dependable" starters (an ironic and bittersweet label for the back end of the Opening Day rotation), I'm just hoping  Brian and Hal aren't persuaded by public pressure to deviate from their original blueprint and will only make deadline moves that make sense for the future.


If that means Brian dusting off his for-sale sign again and collecting more trade chips by dealing short-timers like Pineda and others instead of renting some for a playoff run, so be it.

I'll still enjoy the stretch run just as much as I did last year's after everyone wrote this team off. That's because the more invested in the future this team gets, the more they refuse to give up, entertain and surprise. That's why this team has been so much fun to watch this season.

They're already winners. We want a winner that lasts though, not another one-and-done batch of band-aids.



--Barry Millman
BYB Writer
Follow me on Twitter: @nyyankeefanfore



American Eagle


ANOTHER LOSS, AND ANOTHER BOMBER TO THE DL

Photo: Getty Images
As if watching yet another starting pitcher melt down early and burn up the bullpen in a losing effort wasn't bad enough, another key Bomber landed on the disabled list Sunday.

"It's very frustrating," said  Aaron Hicks, who was told by team doctors he will be out three to four weeks, per NJ.com. "I want to be out there battling with my team and now I can't do that."

"So much for manager Joe Girardi having to figure out a way how to get steady playing time for four outfielders when Jacoby Ellsbury is off the DL.

"As a matter of fact, Ellsbury likely will cut short his minor-league rehab stint in time for the Yankees' road-trip-opening game Monday night against the Chicago White Sox.

Photo: Getty Images
"Ellsbury, who has been out since May 25 with a concussion, started his rehabbing by going 3-for-7 in two weekend games for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He had been scheduled to play two more games early this week for the Double-A Trenton Thunder.

"If the Yankees delay Ellsbury's return, their options would include recalling infielder/outfielder Rob Refsnyder, who is on the 40-man roster but struggled during his big-league chances this season.

Photo: Pinstriped Prospects
"Other possibilities would be giving a first big-league stint to one of two touted Triple-A outfield prospects who would need to be added to the 40, Clint Frazier or Dustin Fowler.

"Hicks injured his oblique in the first inning Sunday on a checked swing, but he stayed in the game until hurting it worse in his next at-bat, a single to center.

"I took a checked swing, kind of felt it and then I really didn't think too much of it," Hicks said. "I thought I could play through it. My second at-bat, I took a swing on a base-hit up the middle and that's when I really felt it."

"The Yankees will miss their multi-threat switch-hitting outfielder, who had been rebounding in a big way from a bad 2016 season, his first with the club.


"In 60 games, Hicks is hitting .290 with 10 homers, 37 RBIs and seven steals. His average was up to .323 early in June and at .306 before he missed three games last weekend in Oakland with a sore Achilles.

"The Yankees, who are still tied for first in the AL East despite losing 10 of their last 12, have been hit hard with injuries and have been playing without starting pitcher CC Sabathia, first baseman Greg Bird, reliever Adam Warren and Ellsbury. Earlier, closer Aroldis Chapman, shortstop Didi Gregorius, catcher Gary Sanchez and first baseman Tyler Austin spent time on the DL.

"Besides those injuries, DH Matt Holliday (sick) and second baseman Starlin Castro (right wrist) were unavailable Sunday. Third baseman Chase Headley returned after missing three games with back spasms.


"Now Hicks will be out until mid-to-late July.

"It's tough on us, but that's one of the things we cannot control," Castro said. "We'll just keep focusing and hopefully (Hicks) will get back sooner."

It's amazing the Yankees are still contenders for a division title given their mounting injuries and pitching meltdowns.

Then again, everyone in the AL Least is now too with only five games separating the cellar from the leader.

Five weeks to go until the trade deadline.

The team that makes the biggest moves by then wins it.



--Barry Millman
BYB Writer
Follow me on Twitter: @nyyankeefanfore






Sunday, June 25, 2017

BOOED OFF THE MOUND!

Source: Paul J. Bereswill

I have never seen anything like it.  Seriously, Tyler Clippard has to be the sorriest looking pitcher on the hill right now.  And when he said that the fans have a right to be angry, he is right.  He absolutely choked on Saturday after being placed in the 9th inning hole by Joe Girardi who was hoping to snap his funk.

Source: Rich Schultz/Getty Images North America

"He coughed up four runs in the ninth inning to kill any chances the Yankees had in an 8-1 loss to the Rangers. Granted, Clippard came into the game already down 4-1, with Girardi looking for opportunities to get the 32-year-old back on track," reported the NY Post.

Source: Al Bello/Getty Images North America

But this seems to be Clippard's MO, at least of late.  He has more than doubled his ERA over his last three outings from 2.22 to 4.85.  These kinds of performances are not acceptable for a team who is battling for first place and who has the charisma of a championship team from yesteryear.

Source: Reuters 

With Old Timers Day upon us, the Yankees 71st of its kind, I hope that the legends that take the field bring some much needed champion magic back to this year's team and back to Clippard who wears Catfish Hunter's number across his back.

Source: Al Bello/Getty Images North America

“They have a right,” Clippard said. “They have a right to boo me. I’m pitching terrible right now. It is what it is. This is a city that demands excellence. I realize that. It is what it is.”

Source: Al Bello/Getty Images North America

I think what gets me is that confused look on Clippard's face every time he makes a mistake.  He looks shocked, almost like he got busted with his fingers in the cookie jar and now has to face the consequences.  “I know I’ve been through some trouble in my career . . . I’ve had some bad times and I’ve had a lot of good times. It can’t get any worse. Hopefully, there’s some good times to come," reported Newsday.


And if Clippard doesn't have good times in his near future, I hope the team and media stop babying the guy and they send him down for the next guy in who can help us win ball games, not lose them. Honestly, I have seen enough and we, the fans, deserve a much needed break.  Besides, I am eating way too much ice cream over this guy.  For health's sake...Clippard, please take a vacation and get your head on straight.  Yanks lose a big one at home 8-1 with the rubber game later today following Old Timers' Day.



--Suzie Pinstripe
BYB Managing Editor
Follow me on Twitter: @suzieprof










A CAREER IS NOT DETERMINED BY 1 GAME

Yankee fans can be harsh.  Hell... baseball fans can be harsh.

(Bill Kostroun/AP) 
Now I will be the first to criticize ballplayers on bad play, maybe Girardi on using the binder too much... stuff like that.  But I know how hard it is to get to the Bigs, and then stay there.  Players have long careers or short ones based on not only game play, but sometimes in the decisions they make to come to a new club.  For Matt Holliday, it's been working out for him in the Bronx.  For Chris Carter, not so much.


But I am often reminded by something that the wise Marci Hensley said to me a while back when she spoke of her husband, Mike Hensley and his minor league playing days with the Cardinals and her son Ty, now with the Tampa Bay Rays. She said this:

"...I do know that making it to the majors is more about a bunch of factors such as health, opportunity, and work ethic coming together.  That doesn't happen in one season with kids coming out of high school. It takes some time, in pinstripes or in some other jersey, it doesn't matter."

It takes time.  Think about that.

Not gonna lie, I remember hearing that from her and it softened me.  I realize much more seeing these guys, even watching my 14 year old working hard to follow his dream. 

Instead of ripping a guy because he struck out, calling him 'terrible' or a bum, and there's no real body of work or time in the majors, you really have to put things in perspective and be quiet for a moment.  The game's hard, bottom line... and for some players, they peak and disappear.  Maybe that's Chris Carter... who knows...

Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports
I only bring this up because our pal Tyler Austin was given a shot yesterday, and it wasn't a nice 2017 debut. But while he may feel bad about it... today on the June 25th, he's already moved on because that's what ballplayers do.

Now, you know my perspective on players and body of work and my new "nothing is instant" mentality, I had to share this silly comment from I guess, a Yankee fan. This popped up on Twitter yesterday to me:

"Tyler is terrible..."

When I tweeted, "...from the dude sitting on his couch. Got it."

That was followed up with:

"Quick question: Are you watching this train wreck? Or just looking through the world through pinstripe glasses? This is a bad team?"

Now how would he know anything about that? Tyler's terrible? First at bats of the season? SHally we call it a career? Ship him off? Are we expecting 3 homers?

And then the bad team comment.  Bad team? Here's their record... you tell me...


My point is you can't make a determination after 1 at bat, one game, one season.  People get impatient, I've been there too... but the bottom line is, it's ridiculous.  Knee jerk reactions from one bad game is insane.  Everyone needs to calm down... including the media:

Photo: NJ.com
NJ.com gave a subtle rip at Austin yesterday too:

"His first big-league game of the year was like a lit firecracker that didn't go off.

Everything about his showing in the Yankees' 8-1 loss to the Texas Rangers was a dud. Playing first and hitting seventh, Austin took an ugly 0-for-3 collar. He struck out his first two times up, then bounced into a double-play in his last at-bat.

This was just one bad day, which is no big or little deal over a six-month season, but Austin pinpointed a reason for his bad at-bats.

"I let the game speed up on me a little bit today," Austin said.

Photo: New York Post
He probably was extra fired up over knowing he's being handed a starting job (at least until Greg Bird comes off the DL) and badly wanted to make an immediate impact for a club that has been losing a lot of games of late while getting very little production at first base."

This is a kid that works harder than any prospect I know, other than Ty Hensley.  This is a dream for these kids.  This is a moment, that yes, sometimes they get jacked up about it.  Suddenly his debut doesn't go the way YOU want it to and the kid's terrible? I am respectfully asking you to shut up.

So what's the point of all of this? Maybe this...


Before you write off the New York Yankees... calm down.  Before you crucify a player for 1 bad game... put it in perspective.  Before you get silly on Twitter... check yourself.  One thing that I have learned in life is nothing is instant.  Skill, determination, confidence... it takes time and Tyler Austin, the Yankees... hell... even Tyler Clippard who's struggling right now... every player and person out there has a bump in the road...but it's what you DO with the bump.  Do you take your ball and go home? Or... do you try and turn it around.

One bad at-bat or bad game, or even bad season does not determine a career.   And if you're sitting on your couch with zero perspective on how life works... I kindly ask you to stop trying to be part of the conversation, but instead, learn about how achievement is done.

Happy Sunday.  Go out there and do something great today.

Hey Tyler, you have our support at BYB. Always.


Buy Casey BYB Merchandise (2017)

http://shrsl.com/?hb25


SOMETHING YOU MAY NOT KNOW...

(June 23, 2017 - Source: Brian Blanco/Getty Images North America)
I read this the other day, but when my man Jason Keidel of CBSSports.com tagged me and asked me if I knew this... I didn't quite realize just how big of a deal it was.  The streak was significant, but now it's broken.

ESPN has the nugget:

"The Orioles had given up at least five runs in 20 straight games, matching the major league mark set by the 1924 Philadelphia Phillies. Baltimore went 6-14 over the stretch.

Photo: Getty Images

'It's one thing to identify a problem, it's another things to solve it,' Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. 'We're in the business of trying to solve issues. You can start by looking at them and realizing that you have them, but I don't think anybody's got to tell us we've had problems with our starting pitching.'

Bundy (8-6) allowed three runs and five hits in seven innings. Relievers Donnie Hart and Mychal Givens combined to keep the Rays scoreless over the final two innings.

Photo: Getty Images
'The story of the game was, probably, Dylan Bundy,' Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "He did a nice job kind of quieting our hot bats.'"

Maybe, but for me, the story was that the Orioles were giving up at least 5 runs in 20 straight games, and if you're a team that's not hitting and able to score, that's big.  Now yesterday, and good for him... Bundy was able to go 7 solid, and combined with his pen, they and give up 3 runs. Will this start a new trend for the O's? Maybe...

I kind of liked it when they were giving up 5 runs in 20 straight... but that's just me, a fan of another team in their division. We want the O's in the basement.  Right now they are 5 games out and only the Blue Jays are the worst team in the AL.  Just sayin'.

Nice nugget, Keidel, you da man.


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