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A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News


Pregame notes: “Not the same team that we used to be”

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on Jun 28, 2013 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Robinson Cano

There is not a single team in Major League Baseball with a lower slugging percentage against lefties than the Yankees. They’re hitting .233/.306/.337 against them, leaving little room to wonder why the Orioles switching things around so that Rule 5 pick T.J. McFarland will make his first big league start tonight.

“We all know that we’re not the same team that we used to be in the past,” Robinson Cano said. “A lot of guys are hurt. We just have to go out there, stay positive and try to take advantage when we have men in scoring position. If you have to move them over, move them over. Just do the little things. We don’t have the big guys that you can count on — four or five guys that can hit a homer any time in the game. I’m not saying anybody in here can’t hit homers, but we’re not the same team we used to be in the past.”

That much is clear from the lineup, and from the fact there aren’t standout alternatives on the bench. Slumping Vernon Wells is once again batting cleanup, and the only reasonable alternatives are a couple of platoon left-handed hitters (Travis Hafner and Lyle Overbay), a switch-hitting rookie who’s hot start has yet to include a hit against a left-hander, or a light-hitting lefty who’s more at home at the top of the order but is suddenly batting fifth because the alternatives are so few and far between.

The guy who’s supposed to be a ray of hope in this lineup is Cano, who’s hitting just .230/.302/.363 against lefties this season.

“I might see one pitch over the plate,” Cano said. “That’s what they’re doing; one pitch over the plate and then they’re pitching around me. It’s not like before where they would give me strikes. They’re going corner to corner, so I might see one pitch. I have to take advantage whenever I get that pitch.”

The Yankees are 15-10 against left-handed starters this season, and that’s the third-best such winning percentage in the Majors behind Texas (16-9) and Atlanta (14-9), however, the Yankees have lost their past three games against left-handed starters and four of their last five. They’re not sneaking away with the wins that they seemed to get away with in April.

“You just try to score runs,” Joe Girardi said. “We’ve won a lot of really low-scoring, close games against lefties. When you look at our average against lefties, it was less than against right handers, but we had won some close games. So we’ve got to keep it close.”

Derek Jeter• Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez each took simulated at-bats at the minor league complex today. According to The Associated Press in Tampa, Jeter had an opposite-field single in six at-bats said afterward that it was his second day facing live pitching. Rodriguez, according to the AP, had two doubles and a single in five plate appearances. He also ran the bases after putting the ball in play. “I’m not sure who (of those two) you’ll see in a game first,” Girardi said. “Alex has obviously had more simulated at-bats than Derek, but we’ll see how that goes.”

• The AP also reported that Francisco Cervelli did baserunning drills with Rodriguez after the simulated at-bats.

• Girardi said, as far as he knows, Eduardo Nunez is scheduled to play in another minor league rehab game today. It’s obviously looking like Nunez is the closest player to coming off the disabled list. I’m fairly certain he’s eligible to come off next weekend.

• Larry Rothschild told the Yankees media relations staff the wrong rotation. He mixed up CC Sabathia and David Phelps, which is why every list of scheduled starters had Phelps today and Sabathia tomorrow. It’s actually Sabathia today and Phelps tomorrow.

• Speaking of starters, the Yankees say that Ivan Nova will likely start one of the games in Minnesota, but they’re not sure which one. Nova is available out of the bullpen, but Adam Warren is considered the go-to long man. “We’re in an extremely long stretch of 20 games,” Girardi said. “And you start tacking on three or four starts in a row where it’s on normal rest, we think that’s pretty taxing. If during this time you can insert Nova one time – or if you need to, twice – we’ll do it.”

• Sabathia is going for his 200th career win. “I’m sure that thought has crossed his mind,” Girardi said. “Hopefully that won’t be his focus tonight. I think it will be the Baltimore Orioles. It’s a pretty big milestone, and I’m sure he’d like to get it out of the way.”

• It was interesting to watch players fill out their all-star ballots in the pregame clubhouse. For the past few years there’s been a players ballot to choose some of the reserves, and most of the Yankees seemed to be really studying the stats before making their choices. I’m sure there are a few guys who just check off some friends and call it a day, but everyone I saw with a ballot was putting some real effort into it.

Associated Press photo

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42 Responses to “Pregame notes: “Not the same team that we used to be””

  1. Warning Track Power June 28th, 2013 at 6:08 pm

    mick June 28th, 2013 at 4:54 pm
    @AndrewMarchand

    Nova will start against MN. No word yet on which game.
    =================
    I smell a 6 man…
    ———————————————————–
    I smell a trade a comin’

  2. joecembrale June 28th, 2013 at 6:10 pm

    Nova will start against MN. No word yet on which game.
    =================
    I smell a 6 man…
    ———————————————————–
    I smell a trade a comin’

    Pleeeeeeeease

  3. Disco June 28th, 2013 at 6:21 pm

    How does Girardi justify batting Nix 2 and Wells 4?

    Nix is statistically the worst hitter in the AL.

    And Wells is second. But if you cherry pick away his hot start, he’s probably even worse than Nix. Way worse.

    I know we have like no other options, but I honestly would put Almonte and Ichiro in those spots instead.

  4. I Am Winning June 28th, 2013 at 6:23 pm

    Cano? Hello? If they give you 1 strike and 4 balls, either smash that strike or take a walk. If they never throw him 2 strikes he should have at least a .500 OBP right? Making excuses. With nobody protecting him in the lineup he is an average to good hitter. As opposed to a great hitter when he is surrounded by All Stars himself. This team seems to be mopping around I don’t get it.

  5. Locke June 28th, 2013 at 6:24 pm

    Disco,

    Nix is statistically the worst hitter in the AL? What metric are you using? I agree he shouldn’t be the #2 hitter, but I didn’t feel like he was hitting that poorly.

  6. J. Alfred Prufrock June 28th, 2013 at 6:28 pm

    The only thing holding us at .238 is that we are only allowed to make 27 outs in a nine inning game
    ///

    Hassey, you are killin’ me :) LMAO

  7. J. Alfred Prufrock June 28th, 2013 at 6:29 pm

    Ghost of George,

    Seems to me Hughes was sitting 92 and hit 94 several times and I believe the highest velo was 95, which I recall only once. Nothing official about any of that, btw, but that’s what I recall.

  8. J. Alfred Prufrock June 28th, 2013 at 6:30 pm

    There’s nothing Cano said there that is not accurate.

  9. Locke June 28th, 2013 at 6:32 pm

    I Am Winning

    If Cano starts taking more walks then he’ll start seeing more quality pitches. Pitchers are going to pitch around him especially when he’ll swing at balls.

  10. Warning Track Power June 28th, 2013 at 6:33 pm

    Disco-
    There are no other options.
    The injured players who may have been options are obviously unavailable tonight.

    Once Nunez returns in about 1 week, he will be inserted into the line-up and hopefully
    hit better than Nix & Adams have so far this season

  11. J. Alfred Prufrock June 28th, 2013 at 6:34 pm

    Cano has been taking walks of late. The lineup stinks.

  12. blake June 28th, 2013 at 6:38 pm

    Cano needs to walk but not sure what good that does when a bunch of auto outs follow him

  13. trisha - true pinstriped blue June 28th, 2013 at 6:39 pm

    Hey gang! Someone here (cant remember who) had a bet with me that the Yankees would be at least 10 games under 500 by the ASB. (His bet of course.)

    :)

    I’m thinking I will be winning that bet. If you remember who you are, please step forward!

  14. Locke June 28th, 2013 at 6:40 pm

    blake June 28th, 2013 at 6:38 pm
    Cano needs to walk but not sure what good that does when a bunch of auto outs follow him

    —–

    Sure, the rest of the lineup is the bigger problem. But Cano is the one legit star on this team that isn’t injured and he’s going to be asking for 200mm or more this off season. He’s going to have a hard time showing that he’s worth that much money if he can’t hit without protection.

  15. blake June 28th, 2013 at 6:42 pm

    If Sabathia can just hold them to -1 runs tonight then I think he will get # 200

  16. J. Alfred Prufrock June 28th, 2013 at 6:44 pm

    blake June 28th, 2013 at 6:38 pm

    Cano needs to walk but not sure what good that does when a bunch of auto outs follow him
    ///

    I’m sure that weighs on him. This isn’t basketball or hockey. He can’t control the tempo of the game. Give him Prince, or even a RH equivalent of Prince. Let’s see what happens.

  17. J. Alfred Prufrock June 28th, 2013 at 6:45 pm

    The rest of the lineup being a “bigger problem” downplays that the rest of the lineup is THEEEEEE problem.

    Cano is a convenient target. He can’t bat behind himself.

  18. trisha - true pinstriped blue June 28th, 2013 at 6:46 pm

    Warning Track Power – just want you to know that I’m your soul sister, whether I’m here or not.

    I’m refusing to buy the bear market version of what’s going to happen with this team so I’m remaining high on this team to get it done. (I would have said I favored the bull version but unfortunately that’s a little too “open season”!) While the lineup may not be capable of raking, I do believe they’re capable of getting the job done. And I believe they will find a way to do it. Dig a little deeper, focus a little harder.

    So I’m looking forward to tonight’s win and getting this team on a roll.

    :)

  19. blake June 28th, 2013 at 6:47 pm

    Walking is always better than getting out….but Cano is surely trying to do too much as he knows if he doesn’t so it then nobody probably will .

  20. J. Alfred Prufrock June 28th, 2013 at 6:47 pm

    And let’s put everybody’s little gritty favorite, Dustin Pedroia in our 3-spot and see what elfin magic he can conjure.

    The funniest things get written here.

    Blame it on Cano.

  21. J. Alfred Prufrock June 28th, 2013 at 6:49 pm

    The lineup and Cano’s LHP split underwent a simultaneous demise.

  22. Warning Track Power June 28th, 2013 at 6:49 pm

    Trisha-
    I welcome you with Arms Wide Open :)

    Seriously, of course these guys can get the job done.
    Some of them have a tendency to try and do to much in certain situation.
    For example, the other day Nix had the bases loaded with 1 out and grounded into a DP.
    I expect more from him because he’s a Vet. I know he’s doing his best, but in that situation he
    needs to look at going the other way and avoid hitting into a DP.

  23. J. Alfred Prufrock June 28th, 2013 at 6:51 pm

    Well, he went the other way two games ago to drive in a run.

  24. fantasygame101 June 28th, 2013 at 6:54 pm

    It is already a given that they are hard press to score runs but what disappoint me is they can not do little things either. Sac. bunt, sac. fly, steals and even defense is not stellar of late. If you are not a HR hitting team, you must execute very well in other things.

  25. Niblick June 28th, 2013 at 6:55 pm

    Another day in the Lohud blog, and another day in the We Hate Robbie club, whose members don’t have the collective intelligence of a fungo bat.

  26. fantasygame101 June 28th, 2013 at 6:57 pm

    When will we get a new player?

  27. Warning Track Power June 28th, 2013 at 6:58 pm

    fantasygame101 June 28th, 2013 at 6:57 pm
    When will we get a new player?
    ************************************************************
    Trade season begins sometime after the all-star break

    STAY TUNED

  28. trisha - true pinstriped blue June 28th, 2013 at 6:58 pm

    Warning, agree. And here’s another thing. We’re getting Bmore when they are in a bit of a slide, so that might help us out a bit. And of course we need really good pitching this series.

  29. Against All Odds June 28th, 2013 at 6:59 pm

    Prufrock speaking the truth :)

  30. Disco June 28th, 2013 at 7:01 pm

    @Locke

    http://www.fangraphs.com/leade.....;sort=18,a

    I correct myself. Moustakas, Andrus, and Keppinger have been worse.

  31. Warning Track Power June 28th, 2013 at 7:01 pm

    Trish
    Yankees have been pitching very, very well. Yesterday Hughes did more than enough
    to get a win. Can’t win if you can’t score.

  32. Warning Track Power June 28th, 2013 at 7:02 pm

    Disco-
    Keppinger was one of the players that some folks around here were hoping
    the Yankees would have signed in the off-season(instead of Youk).
    I guess that is not working out very well either.
    Imagine if Kepp was on this team and failing at a high rate? An disaster. I’m glad the team
    did not sign Kepp

  33. mick June 28th, 2013 at 7:04 pm

    get a win. Can’t win if you can’t score.
    =================
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x9VL48cPVPw

  34. Against All Odds June 28th, 2013 at 7:05 pm

    @ Niblick I don’t think anyone on hete hates Cano outside of trolls and maybe a few members. I might not agree with everything that is said about him but it doesn’t feel like hate. If you want to see hate go to the YES board and find the thread about Cano. There is a ton of hate in there.

  35. RayVT June 28th, 2013 at 7:05 pm

    Hello Trisha!
    I have a feeling that the Yankees win tonight. I think that the O’s throwing a Rule-5 LH Relief Pitcher as a starter just slaps them in the face & may be the beginning of a run of sorts.

    I think the Yanks score double digits & it isn’t 00!

  36. Locke June 28th, 2013 at 7:06 pm

    I wasn’t trying to say that I hate Cano. He’s probably the best 2B the Yankees have ever had and the best 2B in the league. I love watching him play, and I’ve never accused him of being lazy (he’s just makes plays look easy).

    My point was driving at his comments

    “I might see one pitch over the plate,” Cano said. “That’s what they’re doing; one pitch over the plate and then they’re pitching around me. It’s not like before where they would give me strikes. They’re going corner to corner, so I might see one pitch. I have to take advantage whenever I get that pitch.”

    If he isn’t getting pitches to hit then he needs to take the walk and force the pitchers to close the strike zone. Wells, Hafner, et al. aren’t going to provide the protection that Cano needs to get 2/3 pitches to hit.

  37. Locke June 28th, 2013 at 7:15 pm

    Disco June 28th, 2013 at 7:01 pm

    http://www.fangraphs.com/leade…..;sort=18,a

    I correct myself. Moustakas, Andrus, and Keppinger have been worse.

    —–

    That’s dreadful, I don’t really understand WRC+ but you never want to end up between Andrelton Simmons and Alcides Escobar in an offensive category. :)

  38. jmills June 28th, 2013 at 7:40 pm

    I’m attempting connection on this laptop rather than mobile. I hate change and can’t say I’m going to stick to this modality; problem is, Ive got Ayrton Senna, ” The Right to Win “, lined up on my compliant blackberry. For what its worth Buffalo, have a solid, level game. ( I don’t even know how to make happy faces at this point )

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