Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Long Road Home

It is August 25th, and this is the final stretch. They playoffs are about 5 weeks away and the AL East is still air tight. The Yanks just fell out of first but sit only a game behind the Red Sox in the division. But as the smell of October starts to fill the air here in New York, the Yankees have to kick it into gear. They seemed to be playing solid baseball until a slew of resent losses to subpar teams. Losing 3 of the last 4 is not the way the Yankees want to be playing teams like the Twin and the Athletics. What happens when they are playing teams like the Rangers and the Red Sox?

Believe me, I am not beginning to panic. I might be a tad disgusted about last night's loss to the A's, but I am not panicking. I just think there are couple of things that can be done to strengthen the team. Firstly, the six man pitching rotation has to end. The long rest has effectively ruined CC Sabathia's chances of landing the Cy Young Award. Worse than that, is how the long rest has made him not as effective or dominant. Freddy Garcia is all better and a decision needs to be made. Not just any decision either. Listen to the fan base on this one. Banish AJ to a place where he can hurt the team the least. Burnett has been so bad and I don't need to delve into details, we all know the stats. He is simply awful and to keep allowing him to start games this late in the season is irresponsible to say the least.

Secondly, adding a lefty to the pen is very important. Boone Logan has been unreliable in big situations this season. He can not be trusted to do his job come October. The team added Aaron Laffey but quickly designated him for assignment. Now, Brian Cashman is saying that Manny Banuelos may not be a late season call up and that putting him in the bull pen is unlikely. Banuelos is the organizations best lefty prospect. A trade for a reliable lefty is out of the question so why is it that the organization also refuses to fix the issue with a prospect? I feel like logic is absent in this decision.

5 more games until Boston. Let's get with it!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Glaring Issue

It doesn't seem to matter how hot the Yankees come in against their Beantown rivals, it's the same result. The bombers came into the series on a 7 game winning streak. They managed to push their streak to 8 before losing the next two games and the series to the Red Sox. The most glaring issue the team has is the Boston Red Sox. Even if the Yankees get the wild card spot and manage to get to the ALCS, they will be facing the Red Sox almost certainly.

The problems don't end there, however. You guys know that I am all for bringing up prospects to see if they can have a place on this team and now is as good a time as any. As the lights slowly and quietly dims on Jorge Posada, it is time to see what Jesus Montero has.

I'm just as sad as any Yankee fan to see Posada's Yankee career wind down in such a lackluster sort of way. Girardi has to play the part of the bad guy sometimes. It was an absolute pleasure watching Posada's career unfold but I support Girardi's decision. It is August and these games are important. The Yanks are just a game out of first place and the best team needs to be on the field. Don't be surprised if Montero gets his first at bat this week at Yankee Stadium.

Moving on to the 6 man rotation, enough is enough! Time to make a decision. Nova over Hughes. It's not just because I'm bitter about the loss of another rivalry series, but because what I saw last night worried me. That was a situation where we needed a lights out inning and we instead got a train wreck. He looked nervous from the moment he stepped out of the bullpen. The team can't afford to give the ball to him on every fifth day if they don't know if his confidence is in good spirits on that given day. Ivan Nova has gotten better and better this season and he has earned his spot on this team. Only, he keeps having to prove it. We have a strong young starting pitcher so lets use him.

This is all a part of fielding the best team possible. The team needs to figure out how to beat this Red Sox team, because if they can't, this whole season will have been a complete waste of time.

INJURY REPORT: Alex Rodriguez is shooting for an August 15th comeback, and it can't come soon enough.
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Monday, August 1, 2011

Christmas Never Came

The off season was a let down by New York Yankee standards. We did not get our prized free agent so instead, Brian Cashman put together a who's who of Baseball misfits. It was expected that come July, the organization would make a big trade to bolster the team.

July has now come and gone and the Yankees are the only playoff contenders that did not make any addition to their team. Luckily, Cashman's misfits have come in handy at the right times.

Eric Chavez was injured for a while but came back in time to ease the burden in the wake of A-Rod's absence. Jorge Posada has struggled to fit in as a DH but has taken to the first base position rather well, giving the team an option to rest Mark Teixeira when needed. Russell Martin has not hit the ball as well as the team had hoped but has shown that he can call a great game and play stellar defense. Rafael Soriano seems to have been humbled by his shoulder troubles and is now willing to do whatever it takes to help his team win. Then there is the combination of Ivan Nova, Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia. These three have all made at least 16 starts and have a combined ERA of 3.49. You really can't ask for more out of your bottom 3 starters.

The weakest link at the moment, is Phil Hughes. Maybe the recent trade rumors will spark a reaction from the embattled starter and if not, Nova stands ready to step in.

On the other side of the pitching spectrum, the Yankees have a bullpen who is missing Pedro Feliciano, Demaso Marte and Joba Chamberlain. Soriano, having just been reinstated, joins Dave Robertson and Mariano Rivera to fortify a back end of Baseball's finest. In Soriano's absence, Robertson established himself as the best setup man in the league.

Boone Logan has been the weak link in a bullpen that has also looked to Luis Ayala and Cory Wade for stability and Hector Noesi as a long man. All parties with the exception of Logan have pulled their share of the weight.

The team may have an answer for this problem. Clearly it is not a trade. Twenty year old, Manny Banuelos is the team's top pitching prospect and has been promoted to AAA. He is likely a favorite for a late season call up to see if he can help the team in the playoffs.

The leaks in the team could not be plugged by what was available on the trade market. Although this is an upsetting and unsettling fact, it is nice to see that the team did not make a deal for the sake of making a deal. Our prospects are too valuable to just trade away for cosmetic reasons. Time to start benefitting from these kids. Brian Cashman seems confident in what we have. His message: "I like our team."

Let's see if he still likes it in October.
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