Hello Yankee fans! I hope this email/blog reaches you all safely
I will review the entire more in depth as we move forward but I do want to say while this team is flawed we have a better team than last year...and that team won 84 games, even if they probably should have been closer to .500. I see many people picking the Yankee for last place in the division and I don't see that at all; the pitching and defense is too good. Of course our offense will really struggle unless we get good performances from every question mark...and there are a lot. I do see Beltran playing much better offensively, I think ARod will be a much better DH than we put out there last year and I would think Ellsbury should be a little better. I feel that Headley will give us solid 3rd base production (probably around .760 OPS) and McCann will at least do what he did last year (considering it was his worst year in the majors at a .692 OPS) and I could see an increase in his production as well. These are all pluses so far. I hate our 2nd base situation, but it is virtually impossible for Drew to be worse than last year...right? We lose a lot oat 2nd though as Prado did well when he came over. Gregorius may not hit like Jeter, but honestly I would be disappointed if he didn't. Last year Didi had an OPS of .653, Jeter had an OPS of .617. Defensively he is a big upgrade over Jeter and that should be an overall plus. That leaves us with Tex. His "stubborness" gives me no reason to see a big uptick, but if you look at his career, at 34 he should not be done. His OPS was .807 in 2012 and 2013 he barely played and was injured so I won't count that. Last year he had an OPS of .711. He shouldn't be much worse than that and could be better. Gardner, should give us an OPS around .750 with some SB help. I don't know what happened to the guy who averaged 48 SB's with only being caught 11 times on 2010 and 2011, but he still is a positive on the bases stealing 21 and being caught 5 times last year, so that adds to his OPS.
So the weak offense should be better this year IMO.
Our pitching could be very good. We will miss the genius Maker coming out of the pen (and no I won't change the blog name...at least for awhile), but we have a lot of arms and the best starting team we have had in some time. of course, we need to stay healthy but that is very hard to predict. I don't understand all this talk about Tanaka though and his velocity may be down? Not sure what that is about, but his control was not great today and I didn't think his breaking pitches were sharp.
Let's use that to transition into the game...
Like I said before, I didn't see Tanaka being sharp with his command. His pitches were inconsistent and then the game got out of hand when he walked the number 9 hitter with nobody out and a guy on first base (being held there by an excellent play by Gardner. When Reyes came up with 1st and 2nd and nobody out it was an obvious bunt situation but the Yankees were not smooth on their defense as Headley (while playing in) didn't charge immediately or at full throttle and Tanaka almost got to it screening Headley and he threw a little wide of 1st for an error. This opened up the flood gates , especially after Tanaka through the wrong pitch in a bad location to Encarcion. Going back to the wild throw by Headley...I think Tex made a terrible play and should have at the minimum knocked the ball down and with a very good play could have scooped it for an out. his problem was he missed teh base when he went to the bag and actually had his right foot on the bag instead of against it and then never strode/stretched toward the throw. it was as if he stretched to soon and therefore could not move for the ball. In actuality he just fell over and did a very poor job.
The only other comments on this bad start to the year were that ARod looked good at the plate and what the heck was Didi thinking in the 8th inning with 2 guys on and 2 outs getting caught stealing 3rd base? I have no idea if Girardi had any comments in the post game, but if there was ever a don;t steal sign, this was it. It was a horrible play and what made it worse was it was right after a pitching change so we had time to discuss any strategy. FWIW, it was not a double steal (runner on 1st didn't go) so I would assume Didi went on his own. Ugh.!
Considering Toronto is the team most people think will win the division, it would be good to start out the year taking them, but it is a long year as we know.
If we can stay in the race, we could add a 2nd baseman to help us later in the year...or maybe Drew can actually recreate his career .747 OPS. For me, I am interested in a lot of the pitchers and also to see if Didi can develop into a .700+ OPS guy with excellent defense and I am intrigued to see how ARod does (I am not a hater like most). Headley also seems like a good guy so I am glad he is on the team. Oh, one last thing, it was good to see McCann try and bunt when the heavy shift was on. The next time up they brought the shift back some and on the pitch they moved toward third so it is important to do that and he will get some easy hits that way (ARE YOU WATCHING TEX!)