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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

THAT YANKEE BULLPEN MAGIC



When I am so unsure why someone does something irrational or in a way that has no true reasonable outcome, I ask a very simple question, “Help me to understand why…” So, here’s my question to Joe Girardi and perhaps the Yankee management: “Help me to understand why you are messing with the bullpen magic that got us through the first half of the season?”

 
Last season, we all knew who was coming out in the 8th and 9th, in most save situations. Since the All Star Break, it’s like anything goes. I can’t predict what Joe will do next. Now, I love Dellin Betances in the 7th and 8th innings and David Robertson has shown consistency in his role as a closer. He is 26/28 in save opportunities and he is projected to have 41 saves this season according to ESPN. But when they start messing up the magic with guys like Shawn Kelley and David Huff and then go to a young starter, like Chase Whitley from the pen, I start to get concerned because of how the Yankees ruined the opportunities for Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes. They started messing with them, putting them into situations that they were not prepared, perhaps mentally more than physically. “Whitley, 25, was a career reliever before being converted to a starter at Triple-A this season. He, too, started off strong, but struggled in his final few starts before throwing six shutout innings in his last start against Texas on Tuesday,” according NJ.com yesterday

 
Shawn Kelley does not have what it takes. I am just not impressed. I am also not impressed with Huff and frankly, the management called on Chris Capuano to take on too much, too soon, in an important division game against Toronto this past weekend. Sure, he has been a starter in the past, but in more recent times with the Red Sox, he has worked out of the bullpen. Was he really stretched out enough to start? And Chase Whitley, who was a golden child just a month ago, is cast into the bullpen. He should have started despite his spike in ERA over the last six starts rendering him three losses, two no decisions and one win. The two no decisions, by the way, ended up as wins for the Yankees. 

 
They gave guys like Hughes infinite opportunities, but Whitely gets two or three. And don’t forget the naysayers. Our number pitcher right now is David Phelps. Many believed he couldn’t hack it as a starter. He made believers out of most of you. The current starting rotation, I think, is Phelps, Brandon McCarthy, Hiroki Kuroda, Shane Greene, and perhaps Chris Capuano. Does this mean Whitley is out? And by way, don’t need a period of gelling? I mean, we just put together a starting rotation after, man after man went down.

 
So, what’s my point? I think the Yankees are trying to put too many people into the mix and rotating too many people, too quickly. I am afraid they will hurt the bullpen magic that has frankly gotten us to this point. Guys like Adam Warren, Matt Thornton, Dellin Betances and D’Rob can do the job consistently. I realize that it’s all hands on deck some days, but if our starters can get us to six innings, then the rest can be handled by a select few. Let’s keep that bullpen magic healthy and keep our starters where they belong.




--Suzie Pinstripe, BYB Senior Staff Writer
Twitter: @suzieprof


   
 
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THE STARSKY & HUTCH OF YES


I don't have to tell you how much I love and appreciate guys like Bob Lorenz and Jack Curry of the YES Network.  I know you're right there with me.  True Professionalism. Class. Smart as hell and they do their job better than anyone.


Now I've followed Jack's career since the New York Times.  He was always good, but he gets better with  age and experience.  I have followed he and Pete Caldera for years, reading everything they wrote and knowing that what they're shoveling me, isn't crap.  They take the time to get it right.

I often say they provide "nuggets." What that means is, you can always find 1 really great piece of information the others don't have in their articles. Jack did it for a long time and it's because of that, that I've admired his work.  We even interviewed Jack for Bleeding Yankee Blue way back when we were just a "thing".  Read our interview with him below. By the way, I'm happy to report that BYB is no longer a "thing". We're an appointment, and we appreciate our BYB readers more than anything... you keep us going.


I've been watching Lorenz since he began on YES back in 2003.  I can honestly say that no one is more prepared than Bob. He's quick, witty and on top of the gig.  He makes you want to watch.  He engages you, he keeps you entertained and the combination of Bob and Jack in the studio is hands down, the best!  The best on YES, and quite possibly the best in sports.  No, in fact, THEY ARE. Sure, accuse me of kissing ass, whatever man. Truth be told, I like these guys, they are friends in our heads and it's refreshing.


Joking yesterday evening, I referred to Bob and Jack as stylish 70's cop show detectives:
You know, the guys that sit on the edge of the desk with their tie alittle undone and their sleeves rolled up looking at the deputy and yelling, "Get me Gonzalez! He's been dealing H!"  Luckily for us fans, we have "friends" in Lorenz and Curry.  Guys that know what jokes sound like and they responded to me and the BYB audience:

These 2 are class acts.  Know it and enjoy them. There is no one better, for information, knowledge, hard work and a few laughs.

I tip my cap, you guys are great! Keep up the great work!

And to my BYB audience... if you want to know more about Lorenz and Curry, or Starsky & Hutch, read our interviews with them:

 EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: BOB LORENZ
 EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: JACK CURRY

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JOSH WILLINGHAM IS ON THE RADAR


It appears that if Pete Caldera mentions a guy like Josh Willingham being considered by the Yankees, it's glossed over by the baseball insiders. Until they put it out there themselves and make it there own. Apparently then it's a big deal. But I read everything, and I know who had it first.  I see the game they play, and I'm protective of my guy Caldera.  That's because I know that he personally works his tail off to get the nuggets and doesn't "take". It's independent, and it's inspiring... it's the way these baseball rumors used to be done... not anymore.   Don't know what I'm talking about? Read this...

A few weeks ago I wrote a piece titled BUYING, SELLING & THE NEW YORK YANKEES. In that piece, I pointed out the example Caldera gave about the Yankees looking for a power bat. The name mentioned was Josh Willingham. At the time, Caldera wrote:

"They could deal for a bat with an expiring contract, such as Josh Willingham."


That was written on July 13th and sure, it was obvious, but still, it's a nugget. But... no traction. But guess who came out with that story yesterday?  Your pals and mine... the people at CBSSports.com... and Jon Heyman.

"New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman is eyeing Minnesota Twins outfielder Josh Willingham as the July 31 trade deadline looms, according to WFAN and CBSSports.com baseball insider Jon Heyman." 

No, no... it wasn't WFAN OR CBS Sports... it was Pete Caldera.  Where's the credit anymore? Where's the journalism integrity? I guess you can attach "rumor" to it and anything goes? Wow. Disappointing. Are we just interested in "clicks" these days or are these people just thinking they're bigger and better than everyone and they can just steamroll over others? Lack of respect... I think so.

Truth be told, the Yankees ARE eyeing Josh Willingham, and the reality is, 1 more bat, a rental, would probably help us out in the run scoring department... we need a jolt.  But my source on this story is Pete Caldera.


Caldera's a stud. Also, let me mention an important part to this arrticle. Pete didn't know I wrote this, he didn't ask me to write this and has too much pride and confidence in himself and his work to even let this bother him.  Me however... I appreciate good old fashioned hard work. The life of a beat writer ain't easy, but he does it with class and professionalism, and you gotta tip your cap.  Whether Willingham comes to the Bronx is irrelevant here. But important for me personally is who got it first.

Atta boy Pete.

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JETER WAS HOT IN TEXAS...


The Yankees... well, they were hot... but not "hot" like winning hot, but more like weather "hot".



I had to play that video.... it's been a while.


Anyway, the Yankees lost. David Phelps was great. Yankee run support was limited, as per when Phelps pitches. Also, Derek Jeter was on fire tonight passing Carl Yastrzemski (8th) on the all time list for hits.  Not bad for a guy people are still calling "overrated".


Phelps went 6 innings, gave up 8 hits and 4 runs. The Yankees had to hit off of Yu Darvish and company.  That's never easy.  We actually out-hit the Rangers 11- 8, but we couldn't get the runs home. In fact, I'm pretty down on Brian McCann... and I tweeted this after a strikeout with 2 men on in the 7th:
It was a big moment blown. Enough's enough. When's this dude gotta be worth the money?


The 2 runs the Yankees scored went like this... In the 3rd, Brett Gardner homered.  In the 5th... he did it again.  He was 3-5 tonight. Jeter was 3-4 with 2 singles and a double. McCann and Carlos Beltran struck out 2 times each... just sayin'.

The Yanks need to learn to give Phelps run support.  Do that, and we're on our way.

Final: Rangers 4 - Yankees 2

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Monday, July 28, 2014

"I'M HERE BECAUSE OF THE NEW YORK YANKEES."


The MLB Hall of Fame. The home of the most talented individuals to have represented the MLB. It just got a whole lot cooler! This year, joining the likes of the great Babe Ruth, and Lou Gehrig, were Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, Frank Thomas, Bobby Cox, Tony La Russa, and our own Joe Torre.


Yes, OUR Joe Torre. Torre of Torre's Terrors. The leader of the Elite Five. The manager who led the dynasty. The Torre who opened his speech with "I'm here because of the New York Yankees." Indeed, our Torre.


Torre being inducted into the HOF as manager was perfection to me. He is a hero to me. The captain at the helm when the team won the first world series of my lifetime. He is as big a part of that Dynasty era as Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada. And yeah, the Yankees have a long list of impressive managers, but Torre was it for me. You can watch his speech HERE if you missed it.


Despite being asked to keep his speech to 10 minutes, the old Yankees skipper went on for 28 minutes. Not at all complaining though. He entertained with stories of his time with the Yankees. He forgot to mention George Steinbrenner, and was very upset by the fact (HERE). "I missed mentioning the most obvious guy in the world... It was so obvious that I was going to do it that I went right passed it  -- the whole Steinbrenner family.  It's the proudest time in my whole career and I feel terrible that I omitted that." 


Still, it was an incredible speech to me. He recounted stories of his time with the Yankees. Mentioned players whom he managed, and even confirmed that they do practice the flip play, despite a certain non-believers thoughts on it. He thanked Don Zimmer, crediting him for making him the manager he was. And he thanked us, the Yankee fans. Saying "You have turned New York City into a small town for me." 

All the 2014 Hall of Fame inductees have earned a spot in there. But Torre holds a special spot for me. He is to me what Billy Martin is for the older generation, and what Joe Girardi will be for my children. One day I will visit Cooperstown with my grand kids, and I will be able to say "This manager we have... he will never be like Joe Torre.  Now THAT was a manager. I miss him."


Congratulations to all the 2014 inductees, and a special BYB congratulations to Torre! You the manager!



--Erica Morales BYB Senior Writer 
Twitter: @e_morales1804

 
  


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TULOWITZKI WANTS TO WEAR YANKEE PINSTRIPES


Ken Davidoff was on with FOX 5's Duke Castiglione late last night and they were chatting about Troy Tulowitzki showing up in the Bronx to catch a game yesterday. It was plain weird... and Duke asked Ken about it.  Ken said it simply... that there's "a code of conduct", meaning, you, as a player, never travel to another team's game and be seen by the world.  It's just not right.


But this is allegedly why Tulowitzki was there; Tulo is on the DL and he was at a doctor in Philly.  From Philly, he took a trip up to New York to catch a game. Is it weird that Tulo did that?  Well, it's only weird if he didn't want to get caught.  But I have a theory... Tulo wanted to get caught, because Tulo wants to be a New York Yankee.

Now, it's true, players don't dictate where they want to go usually, especially when they're under contract with another team and especially during the season, but Troy's showcasing himself to New York right now, whether you believe it or not.  Let's not forget, this is off the heels of Troy telling Ken Davidoff of the New York Post that he would love to one day replace Derek Jeter in the Bronx. He said that at the All-Star break. Don't forget, Derek Jeter is Tulowitzki's idol.  You can read about that exchange HERE.


If the Yankees can see the interest Tulowitzki presents, maybe they go to the Rockies and say, "Hey look, he likes us, we like him and I know you want a lot... name your price and let's try and work this out."   Then again, maybe the Rockies don't like our prospects and aren't willing to just cater to Tulo. In fact, out of spite, they may not even entertain the idea.  Why? Because they can.

I know that Tulowitzki was sending Yankee Brass a signal in the Bronx yesterday. Whether they pick up on it, I don't know.  But it's clear to me that something's going on.... because like Davidoff said, you don't just go to another team's park to watch a game during the regular season.


Well, it's my hunch that there's something more to it. I hope I'm right.

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Sunday, July 27, 2014

BULLPEN BATTLE ENDS IN A LOSS


Don't blame the Yankee pen for this one, even though they are responsible. I mean, do you realize just how good they've been all year?  It's a tough one to swallow, but we need to just get over it.  If the pen was consistently losing games after strong starts, I'd be pretty annoyed.  But between Dellin Betances, Matt Thornton and David Robertson, they've been pretty damn incredible.  Not today of course... but that's the game. That's why baseball is such an amazing sport... because, as John Sterling says... you never know what will happen next.


Shane Greene started today and did well.  I like this kid. 5.1 innings pitched, allowed 8 hits and only 3 runs.  Huff, Betances, Warren, and DRob followed.  It was in the ninth that former Yankee Dioner Navarro knocked in the go ahead run... and just like that, the Yankees couldn't tie in up in their part of the inning.

The Yankee runs went like this:


In the 5th, both Chase Headley and Francisco Cervelli homered... 2 solo shots.  In the 6th Brian McCann singled and knocked in Jacoby Ellsbury.  Don't look now, but McCann is actually being productive as of late.


In the bottom of the 8th, Carlos Beltran singled knocking in 1.  Those are the Yankees 4.  Unfortunately... the Jays scored 5.... and that's the final.

Final: Blue Jays 5 - Yankees 4

You forget this game and come back fresh for the next one... it's all you can do.

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HEY CASHMAN, WAIT FOR LESTER & TULOWITZKI


Once again, Pete Caldera nails it on the head.  If you don't know Pete or read the Bergen Record, you're missing out.  Today's column, titled Some free advice for Yanks' GM Cashman puts alot in perspective, especially with Cashman patching things together right now just to keep the Yankees going.  Now, don't get me wrong, it's working, but Pete suggests something bigger.  Something all Yankee fans should be eager about, the future and what free agents are coming down the pike! Caldera writes:

"...A few do’s and don’ts as we see it from the press-box window... 

Now that the rotation has been somewhat stabilized by McCarthy, don’t spend the roughly $50 million to buy Cliff Lee from the Phillies. It’s not that Lee couldn’t help, or that money is a factor in the Yanks’ thinking, but the cash windfall should be saved toward a real haul this winter – purchasing Max Scherzer or Jon Lester in free agency..."


Pete's right. The idea of Lester or Scherzer and their talent in Yankee pinstripes would be incredible.  While I love the idea of a lefty in Lester, it would take a helluva lot to get him to New York. Money WILL HAVE to be a factor.  Lester's loyalty to the Red Sox is documented, but money talks. Scherzer will be looking for a big pay day, and I can see him coming to New York, although, he's a righty and we have plenty of them.

Pete continues:



"...Don’t overpay in prospects for the Padres’ Ian Kennedy, who isn’t a free agent until after the 2015 season. But do take a shot at one more starter with an expiring contract, with Colorado’s Jorge De La Rosa atop the list; prefer the lefty at Yankee Stadium..."

There's truth to that. Kennedy isn't worth it, especially for what Jim Bowden had suggested the other day. Read YANKS MAY TRADE JAGIELO & CLARKIN FOR IAN KENNEDY.

There's more:

"...But do keep inquiring of the Phillies on Cole Hamels and Chase Utley, though neither seems likely to be moved due to high contracts and no-trade-clause preferences. 


And don’t stop asking about the massive deal it would take to land Colorado’s Troy Tulowitzki to begin the post-Derek Jeter era next season."


Cole Hamels? Absolutely, a lefty and someone the Yankees and Yankee fans have wanted for a while.  Can we get the guy? The Phillies say no... but who truly knows what's coming down the pike.



These are observations from a guy that sees this team tick every day, and you know what? Caldera's right. While Cashman needs to patch things up now, he needs to also think about the future. A Lester, a Hamels, a Scherzer are definitely guys that need to be considered.  Sure, Lester would be "a former Red Sock", but plenty have come to New York to be equally successful.


And while everyone thought I was absolutely crazy to suggest Troy Tulowitzki should eventually become a New York Yankee... I feel as though if Caldera says it, we're on the same page. I ain't so crazy now. Tulowitzki wants to be in New York and the Rockies would be smart to make the right deal for him to ship him out of Colorado and into the Bronx for whomever they want.  It's the passing of the torch, from Jeter to another player who models himself after the Captain. The transition for Yankee fans would be smooth...

Look, Pete has his finger on the pulse and there are plenty of great suggestions in his column today, all are genius, and it puts what Cashman is doing into perspective.  Fill the holes now, get us to the finish line with a surprising group of guys right now, let them gel... and then, at the same time, Cash should count his money for the next installment.  The guys Cashman has collected right now are doing the job!


McCarthy is a gamer, he's done good things so far in New York.  Chase Headley is adapting quite nicely in the Bronx, and we are all happy he's here.  Jeff Francis will be a solid lefty out of the pen, and will give Matt Thornton a break down the stretch, and there is no doubt that over the next few days, Cashman will make another deal or 2 that will bolster our team.

Bottom line is this; as of right now, sometimes a shake up jolts a team... Headley... McCarthy... these guys came in and freshened us up.  Yankee fans should welcome them. And not only that... Yankee fans should also know that we are in good hands. Cashman's also thinking about  our future... and beyond.

Caldera's spot on today.  Good work Pete.

By the way, to my BYB audience, be sure to read Mike O'Hara's piece from yesterday... titled DR. CASHMANSTEIN'S MONSTER

You've made BYB the fastest growing Yankees fan site in history. Now shop at the Bleeding Yankee Blue store!  Follow me on Twitter @BleednYankeeBlu and LIKE Bleeding Yankee Blue on Facebook!