Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Pitching, Pitching, And More Pitching

- The Yankee starting pitching thus far this season has been incredible. Sabathia, Burnett, Pettitte, and Hughes are 14-1 with a 2.05 ERA in 22 starts. This pace is unsustainable, but getting out of the gate this fast provides a great cushion. The hope is that as they start to regress, Vazquez, Robertson, Marte, and certain members of the offense get going, so the wins keep coming. Hopefully they won't regress too much, because this is great to watch, and more importantly is the single biggest reason this team is off to a 19-8 start, which also happens to be one of the four best in Yankees' history in terms of series won as they've won eight of their first nine. Not only is this awesome, but it couldn't be much different from a lot of the starts the team has gotten off to recently.

- Has there been a better move in the last few years, when considering total risk/reward, than the Yankees passing on Johan Santana and getting C.C. Sabathia? This could all change tomorrow with something unforeseen happening, which I hope doesn't happen, but for now this has been the single biggest non-move/move for the Yankees in quite some time. Totally changed the direction of the organization. You can't overlook the fallacy of the predetermined outcome, but at the time C.C. Sabathia was leading the Yankees to the 2009 World Series Santana was recovering from surgery. As Sabathia is off to a quick start in 2010, Santana is giving up 10 earned runs to the Phillies in 3.2 innings in what was a very big rubber game for the Mets. You could argue that the Yankees make the 2008 Playoffs with Santana, and that's valid. Maybe if they get in they mix it up, anything can happen and with Santana and Mussina up top they would have been tough. But since then this has been all C.C. all the time. I'm not saying any of this to malign Santana, just pointing out how critical this decision was.

- I'm a pretty superstitious sports fan personally. However I do not believe in curses, the Sports Illustrated cover one included. That said it is extremely coincidental that since the Core Four was on the cover released last Wednesday, Posada, Rivera, and Pettitte have all suffered maladies. Regardless, the Yankees have caught the injury bug. Park was already on the DL, Granderson joined him Saturday, and now the aforementioned three, who for the time being are not on the DL and hopefully that will continue to be the case and the injuries aren't too serious.

- Related, the Yankees have done a tremendous job building a roster that has depth. Cervelli is a pleasure. Thames is doing his job. Winn is contributing in Granderson's absence. Joba is able to step in and close games with Mariano unavailable. Even amongst the starters, when certain guys are down, others are able to pick them up. When the A Lineup is out there, pretty much everyone can beat you at any time.

- Big weekend coming in Fenway. Great test for Hughes on Friday. Yankees need to be aware that this is about the time Jon Lester gets going and doesn't look back, as he began to show Tuesday night. It's also about the time Beckett starts pitching well for the first time before going back to stinking again. The goal for the Yankees, as almost always, should be not to get swept at Fenway and give too much back in the standings. However, the teams see each other five times in the next two weeks, then not again until August 6-8. A lot is going to happen in that time no matter what happens in these next five games. Last year was as much proof of that as ever between these two teams. The Yankees have a chance to put some distance between them (and Tampa) and the Red Sox as I mentioned the other day. They'll have to play well to do it, and the injuries as well as the Angles are potentially making that tougher to do. Lot of good match-ups, should be a fun series.


Ross Kaplan said...

Injuries to a team this old over the course of the season is inevitable, so it's good thing that the injuries have come this early and have been relatively minor so far. I'm loving Cervelli right now too. He seems to be pretty decent behind the plate and he's by far an improvement at the plate over Molina plus it doesn't hurt that he's got decent speed for a catcher. With Posada being the age he is, Cervelli had a really important role this season and so far he's been great in that role. On a brief aside, how bout those Yankees catching prospects, between Cervelli, Montero and Romine, we've got talent to spare coming down the pipeline at that position.

Besides that, there's nothing else I can really comment on besides Santana. We're never going to know how he would have done as a Yankee, but we do know that the cost would have been too high. No A-Jax and Joba or Hughes means no effective bridge to Mo last season and probably no trade for Granderson, but fortunately that never happened and as they say the rest is history.

Patrick said...

ross -

all good points. cervelli is showing himself to be more than a back-up catcher at this point. whether or not that continues i don't know. but at the very least he looks like he's going to be everything you want in a back-up catcher and then some. he's not quite the defensive catcher molina is, but molina is one of the best in the game and cervelli really isn't that far behind, he's tremendous behind the plate. but as you mentioned he can do so many other things (most notably hit and he has speed) that it more than makes up for the gap in defensive ability.

romine is crushing AA. crushing. and that's a pitcher's league/park. you have to be excited about what he's doing as it looks like he's not long for AA, because these are the levels you want to see prospects dominate if they are going to be impact talent. hopefully montero's bat comes around at AAA soon, which i have little doubt it will. in addition to the names you mentioned, let's not forget 2009 second rounder JR murphy and 2009 international FA signing gary sanchez (who was one of the best players available last year), both of whom people are high on. kyle higaskioka is also in the system and people are waiting to see what happens with him. the yankees have clearly identified the dearth of catching around the major leagues, and considering they have seen up close what an advantage it is having one of the elite ones for so many years now, they are stockpiling catching. playing the numbers game hoping a few work out. if more work out than they need, there are few positions that can return so much in a trade. hopefully these guys continue to develop.

excellent point, which i didn't consider in this post but have in the past, about the other effects of taking santana over sabathia. pretty big ripple down effect when you consider the players they would have had to give up and what those players have done for the yankees, either through their own production, netting a return in a trade, or both.

Patrick said...

two more points from last night:

1. how good is tampa bay? best team in baseball right now in my opinion. looking more and more like 2009 was the blip, not 2008.

2. of the pitcher's girardi has in his bullpen right now not named mariano rivera and joba chamberlain, his best by far has been alfredo aceves. with the former two unavailable yesterday, i would think aceves would get the chance to pitch the 9th of a 7-3 game, a situation in which girardi likely would have used either joba or mo if they were available. after the game he said he wanted to stay away from ace if he could, although he then admitted ace only threw 3 pitches the night before. prior to that, he hadn't pitched since friday and saturday, when he threw 20 and 26 pitches respectively. then he had two days off, and threw the 3 pitches. i'm beginning to think girardi knows something we don't, which is obviously possible because he's the manager. because otherwise his bullpen management has just been mystifying this year. once he didn't go to aceves, i actually agreed with the way he went. he wasn't left with much choice the way robertson and logan performed. i also agreed with not going to ace once they got in the jam, because you'd rather have logan pitch to a bad righty (lugo) than aceves pitch to a decent lefty (scott), despite the fact that aceves is a lot better than logan, because of the ability of the hitters and the short porch in right. but since you ended up having to go to aceves anyway, why not just let him start the inning? makes little sense with the knowledge we have right now. i understand maybe trying to get some of these other bullpen arms going, but a 7-3 game is not the time, for the reasons we saw yesterday.

Patrick said...

one more thing - i love off days on winning streaks. few baseball related things are better during the regular season. you know the players are getting a day to get fresh, and you get an emotional day off as a fan, both of which are good things. it's awesome in my opinion. also provides a little extra build up to a big series like this weekend.

jason said...

emotional day off as a fan? first time ive heard it put that way pretty sure the players do enjoy their days off though especially if your name is jd drew, i also have a new appreciation for yadier molina who has caught more innings then any other catcher in the league so far this year, who says catchers need off days once a week?

the gm at work said...


With the Celtics and Bruins in the playoffs and all three games happening simultaneously sometimes, I agree with the big guy. An emotional JD would be nice right now.

A serious comment coming up.

Patrick said...

jason i meant that very light-heartedly, but also truthfully. it isn't quite as much early in the season, but i definitely still feel great about an off day on a winning streak. that good feeling from all the winning gets to last for an extra day without having to worry about a win or a loss that day/night. since your team plays almost everyday in baseball it's nice to enjoy the off days as well when they're winning. when they're losing the next game can't come fast enough.

during the playoffs, i legitimately need the off days emotionally. the intensity is so much it can be draining, like what dv is talking about with the celtics and bruins in the playoffs. this is especially true after losses.

jason said...

i understood what u were saying, but its pretty early in the season to be saying you need an emotional day off, gotta stop you somewhere or next thing you will be saying this during spring training

Patrick said...

spring training is pretty much we're i've already cut myself off, but i appreciate the effort to push it back further. unlikely to happen. once the season starts, it's go time for me. i would actually say that on average for the last 5 or 6 years, april has been the most emotionally draining month of the regular season for me because of the way the yankees have played in a majority of those aprils.

glad you got what i'm saying though. i think we all go through this to a certain extent at some point. which is great, because sports are a terrific diversion.

the gm said...

Just through the law of averages, the Yankees on that magazine cover were bound to get hurt. First, because all baseball players run into injuries every now and then, and this team was shockingly healthy last year. And second, because these guys are so old. So I agree with the Tank there.

You gotta hope Granderson isn't going to be out of the lineup for that long.

And I'd trade for Cervelli.

Yankees are very lucky in many different directions that they didn't pay a posting fee and then pay free agent money for Santana. Holy crap did they dodge a bullet. That's Cashman's job right now. Had he traded for Santana with results like the current ones, he'd be gone. Here's where FTB makes a comment about how that might be better for the Yankees' long-term hopes.