Hello Yankee fans; yes I am still doing this!
Let me get right to some predictions.
I get the feeling CC will struggle opening day followed by a decent performance by Kuroda who will surprisingly have Mark Teixeira (our only good infield defender) fail him as Tex will fail the other pitchers as well, in the first few games. The Yanks will lose the first two games before rebounding to equal their record after 4
Seriously, my comments through the 1st four games…This was written BEFORE game 5
I was glad to see the Yankees keep Dean Anna and Solarte for a few reasons. I had written this about Anna in December, “may platoon with lefty Dean Anna (27) who is a guy the Yanks picked up as part of a trade with SD who couldn’t keep him on their 40 man roster. This is a deal that could be an excellent one. He had very good stats in the minors last year (.929 OPS against righties but in the hitting friendly Pacific Coast League), however, he has been a career minor leaguer. I have no idea about his defense, but this deal is one that appears to be a good one.” He is a guy who gives us flexibility and I did like that he played SS in game 4 so he can support the infield in many places. If he can give us an 800+ OPS against righties I think he will be playing 2nd base a lot for us. Anna, seems to have a good eye at the plate and I like high OBP guys. Solarte was hot in the minors and I would rather give him a shot than Nunez who, as you know, I was never a fan of his defense. It is early but Solarte has been our best player so far so let’s ride it out!
Game 1: As I wrote earlier, CC didn’t look any different than last year as his command is not where it needs to be. He needs to be spotting his pitches far better. We were sleep walking at the bat most of that game. There was very poor defense as well. McCann threw one away, but the ump was in the way. tex was bad as well.
Game 2: Kuroda did look pretty good but our defense didn’t help again and our bats were pretty silent again. Kuroda won’t pitch to the same ERA as last year but he will be good; in fact, I am very excited about our starters and want to watch Pineda pitch because if he pitches well our starting staff is as good as almost anyone’s; CC may be our weakest pitcher. I am very hopeful about Pineda and was one of teh few people in favor of the trade to get him and trade away Montero.
Game 3: Nova’s stuff looked good, but he had poor command with 5 walks (4 too many), but got through with the help of double plays. We got just enough hitting to take our first game of the year. Solarte did the heavy lifting for us and Robertson did his job. Probably the most popular question I received in the off season was about Robertson and how he would do. I don’t expect him to be Rivera, but his stuff is good enough where he shouldn’t be an issue. He will blow 3-6 saves which is in line; hopefully it is close to the lower end. I am more worried about our infield defense and now Tex being out as he is important to our power of the team. I do hate that Tex refuses to go the other way with the shift, even if it is to lay down a bunt. I find the arrogance/stubbornness to be self-defeating.
Game 4: I liked what I saw from Tanaka. I was very interested in watching him and I liked that he was consistently at 93, and showed a good slider and a solid splitter and very good control. I love the fact he doesn’t walk many batters (the same reason why I like high OBP guys on the offensive side). It was a little uncomfortable to see the first batter of his Yankee career go deep on him, but it was a hanging split and Melky jumped on it. The next inning Tex blew it by not taking the out at 1st, but after that Tanaka was sharp and honestly could have easily pitched the 8th inning as he had retired the last 12 batters he faced. He had thrown 97 pitches, but he was in complete control and he is used to throwing complete games. It was game 1 but I would have let him go until a batter got on. Ellsbury and Solarte had great games and Robertson did his job; 2 for 2, even if this one was not a save. I have to say that Girardi really ticked me off. Why in the world would he leave Betances in to start the 9th just because we scored another run to make it a 4 run lead and not a save situation? I mean it is absurd that he manages differently because of the save rule. I honestly believe he would manage the 9th inning differently if they changed the save rule; which makes no sense to me. Tex commits 3 mistakes in 4 games (I think he only got 2 errors as the throw home was a fielder’s choice), and now pulls his hammy again. This really stinks as he needs to be at least solid for us. If he is out for a long time, I wonder if we can try Soriano over there? They did move Kelly Johnson to 1st and he made a nice diving stop. Without Tex our offense may be very weak...of course that assumed Tex would be hitting well.
One other comment was when Ichiro was up against a touch lefty, with a runner on 3rd and one out with the score 5-3 in the 7th inning, it was a perfect opportunity to squeeze bunt. Ichiro is not a good sac fly guy, he is also a good bunter so why not do it then? Girardi refuses to EVER try a squeeze; I honestly don’t believe he has tried it yet, if anyone can refute that please do. I would bet it didn’t happen more than once in his managerial career with us.
Instant replay was very helpful for us as changing the call at first base allowed us to get 2 runs we would not have had. I like it in baseball as the game is not bound by time like other sports. Also, momentum is not as big a deal as other sports as well.
I will update the Pineda game after I watch it