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

Pregame notes: “We will hit like we’re supposed to hit”

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on Jun 28, 2014 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

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This is the second year in a row that Ichiro Suzuki has been significantly better against lefties than against righties — .841 OPS vs LHP; .639 vs. RHP — yet against the lefty Jon Lester, Ichiro is on the bench and Alfonso Soriano is in the lineup. The video above is Joe Girardi explaining the decision.

Basically, Jacoby Ellsbury has been productive against Lester this season, Brett Gardner has been hot lately, and Soriano doubled and homered off Lester earlier this year.

“Part of it is you’d like to possibly give one of your lefties a day off today,” Girardi said. “But it’s only the second day (in a row) and I’m going to play the guys that we’ve been playing every day.”

I can’t help thinking the Soriano double and home run are significant factors in this situation. Ichiro has hit for a terrific average against lefties this season, but he has just one extra-base hit against them in 30 at-bats. It’s a small sample size, and the Yankees lineup has plenty of small-ball hitters without Ichiro. Without Soriano, the only hitters in this lineup who could be considered true power threats would be Mark Teixeira, Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran (and Beltran isn’t exactly clobbering the ball lately).

This lineup needs some pop, and Soriano can — in theory — provide some.

“So far, we’re not doing our job,” Soriano said. “But we have a very good record, we’re like two games out from the first place. We’re not hitting like we’re supposed to hit, so that’s a good thing. Sooner or later, we will hit like we’re supposed to hit, and I think everything will be in better shape.”

In his limited at-bats, Soriano has actually hit a little bit lately. Of course, he’s been Ichiro-like because his offense has come with a high average but very little power (and a seriously small sample size). The Yankees already have pushed Soriano into a part-time platoon role. if he can’t be productive in a situation like this, it’s hard to see a spot for him.

“I’m feeling much better,” Soriano said “See the ball better, and try to do my job when I’ve got the time to play. That’s what I want to do. I just want to try to feel better every day and try to do my job and help the team to win.”

CC Sabathia, David Ortiz• Girardi said he actually had not heard or asked about Michael Pineda’s scheduled throwing session. Pineda was scheduled to play catch today. his first time throwing since his most recent setback. “Probably 25 throws at 60 feet, so probably not a lot to get excited about,” Girardi said.

• Assuming everything went fine, what’s next for Pineda? “You extend the catch, get him up to 120 feet (eventually),” Girardi said. “Do some flat ground, do some bullpens, do some live BP-slash-simulated games, then you try to get him in some games. But it takes a while.”

• More significant is tonight’s rehab start by CC Sabathia, who’s pitching for High-A Tampa beginning in just a few minutes. Tampa Yankees radio man Nick Flammia is on the scene. Jake Cave is hitting leadoff, Greg Bird is the No. 3 hitter and Aaron Judge is batting cleanup in that game. Also, Angelo Gumbs has come off the disabled list and is starting at second base down there. It’s his third game back.

• Another guy off the minor league DL is Chris Leroux, who was activated to the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre roster this afternoon and will start tonight. With a few guys healthy now, that Triple-A rotation now includes Leroux, Bruce Billings, Alfredo Aceves and Shane Greene, all of whom have some big league time this year (and Greene pitched much better last time out). Scranton/Wilkes-Barre’s fifth start is Nik Turley, who’s also fresh off the disabled list and has a chance to be a major-league option at some point. There seem to be a few more options there than there were just a few weeks ago.

• One other thing to notice with tonight’s Scranton/Wilkes-Barre game, Jose Pirela is starting in right field (at least, according to the lineup on the RailRiders website). That’s significant only because all of his previous outfield time has come in left field. This is his first turn in right field this season. Preparing him to be a Soriano/Ichiro alternative?

• Finally, it’s Tanaka Day, with the Yankees ace making another start against the Red Sox. Last time out, Tanaka’s average fastball velocity was noticeably down, but Girardi essentially dismissed it. “He threw a lot more two-seamers and didn’t throw a lot of four-seamers,” Girardi said. “And his four-seamers are the ones that are going to have a little higher velocity. That can have something to do with it. It can vary from start to start. There’s no doubt about it. You can have a guy anywhere from half-a-mile to a mile off from start to start, it can be a little but different depending on the amount of rest or how tough the innings were, so yeah, it can vary, but a lot of it can have to do with how many four-seamers he throws too.”

Associated Press photo





25 Responses to “Pregame notes: “We will hit like we’re supposed to hit””

  1. SweetSpot June 28th, 2014 at 6:06 pm

    Good afternoon! What a great day to be a Yankee fan! We’re one game out of first place and Tanaka San is on the mound. Oh ye of little faith.

  2. MTU June 28th, 2014 at 6:07 pm

    Is that right Alfonso.

    Glad you let us know.

  3. MTU June 28th, 2014 at 6:13 pm

    Hey Brian.

    Stop the presses.

    Don’t do anything.

    Soriano says the Yankees are going to hit like they are supposed to hit.

    Just wait and see.

  4. hardwired7 June 28th, 2014 at 6:20 pm

    It would be unfair if we didn’t get to see one last insanely hot streak from Soriano before he hangs them up.

    It’s always amazed me that he brings the heaviest bat in the league to the plate each night with that frame. It really is a thing of beauty when he barrels one up.

  5. Hankflorida June 28th, 2014 at 6:22 pm

    MTU, as a recognition to Chad’s home state, I say to Soriano that he should “Show me!” Tonight would be a good start.

  6. SweetSpot June 28th, 2014 at 6:25 pm

    Would you prefer a slumping ballplayer said, “I don’t think I’m going to hit again, I’m done?” What would you expect him to say. He’s giving it his all.

  7. MTU June 28th, 2014 at 6:27 pm

    I expect him to say nothing and just do it.


  8. Pat M. June 28th, 2014 at 6:28 pm

    From my perspective the one thing that defines Soriano’s 2014 season is that he’s fouling back fastballs that he use to drive hard and far. I mean he’s always been a free swinger with the largest self imposed strike zone that I think that I’ve ever seen. But he seldom missed fastball mistakes in years past, now he is.

  9. MTU June 28th, 2014 at 6:29 pm

    Maybe he should try a LIGHTER bat.


  10. hornblower June 28th, 2014 at 6:30 pm

    Chad what constitutes better for Ichiro against lefties. He has 4 extra base hits for the year and 10 rbi’s. Damn he makes Roberts look like the Babe. Since Beltran can’t play the field please get someone who can hit out there. Pirela can hit and so can Ref.

  11. pete22 June 28th, 2014 at 6:32 pm

    Blue Jays continue to slide. My semi-prediction of being in 1st place by July 1 looking doable.

    Red Sox could have 4 rookies in the lineup if Betts starts tonight. Kids have been a big part of their problems with XB and Bradley not performing, but Holt as been a plus and maybe Betts will too.

    If Soriano thinks playing 550 ball for 1/3 of the season is a good record I want what he is smoking. Might explain why he has not hit.

    Positive regression and a couple of trades/call ups could make this a good team. A key injury could send them in the other direction. No certainties in baseball.

    Should be a good game tonight, any day Tanaka pitches usually is. Yankees have to score some off Lester though

  12. SweetSpot June 28th, 2014 at 6:33 pm

    MTU June 28th, 2014 at 6:27 pm
    I expect him to say nothing and just do it.

    You understand of course that Soriano like all the Yankees is being asked questions by Yankee beat reporters like Chad and others. I don’t think saying nothing would be a good option.

  13. SweetSpot June 28th, 2014 at 6:34 pm

    Betts isn’t starting tonight but I believe he is starting in right-field tomorrow.

  14. MTU June 28th, 2014 at 6:34 pm


    Holt is not from their system.

    Believe it not he was a throw-in in one of their trades.


  15. MTU June 28th, 2014 at 6:36 pm


    He does not have to give the pat answer then.

    And he should let his bat do the talking.

    Maybe that’s what he should have said.

    And smiled that great smile of his.


  16. SweetSpot June 28th, 2014 at 6:37 pm

    David Ortiz answering a reporters question on Tanaka:

    Reporter: Is he the best rookie you ever faced?

    Ortiz: Yes. Definitely.

  17. MTU June 28th, 2014 at 6:37 pm

    Enjoy Tanaka folks.

    He’s going for his 15th consecutive quality start.


  18. pete22 June 28th, 2014 at 6:42 pm

    SweetSpot June 28th, 2014 at 6:37 pm

    David Ortiz answering a reporters question on Tanaka:

    Reporter: Is he the best rookie you ever faced?

    Ortiz: Yes. Definitely.

    Well, there is the proof. Papi is off the juice. :lol:

  19. Pat M. June 28th, 2014 at 6:48 pm

    Pete22….Last night we briefly commented about the shortness of the left field wall in Fenway. I remember the first time I went to Camden Yards and looked out at the 365 left center wall and watched BP and Cal must have hit 10 straight flyballs over that short wall. Of course you and I remember the old 457 at The Stadium and even when they re-opened the place it was still a long 430 to left center. I played a American Legion AS game in 1970 in the old Stadium and I remember looking out at the height and distance of the walls from bullpen to bullpen and it blew my mind…..

  20. pete22 June 28th, 2014 at 6:50 pm

    MTU June 28th, 2014 at 6:34 pm


    Holt is not from their system.

    Believe it not he was a throw-in in one of their trades.

    He was part of the Hanrahan trade and has been in in the system over a year. Pretty sure he is still a rookie despite some previous call ups.

    Another rookie Rubby De La Rosa was also from another system and part of the Dodgers trade, he just got sent down to make room for Betts (who will be on the bench against Tanaka). Red Sox trying to trade Peavy before calling him back up.

    Not often do you see a team off a World Championship with so many rookies. Yankees have a few as well, and one of them is pitching tonight :lol:

  21. pete22 June 28th, 2014 at 6:57 pm

    Pat M. There sure were some big stadiums back in the day. You wonder how skinny guys (compared to today) who did not do much weight training and before PED’s hit so many HR in those parks. It all about the bat sped I guess. Ted Williams playing in Fenway which kills LH pull hitters, especially before they put the bullpens in RF, and Dimaggio in the old stadium, you wonder what kind of numbers both would have had if they switched uniforms

  22. bigdan22 June 28th, 2014 at 7:07 pm

    I don’t follow the Red Sox too closely but they are pretty interesting organization and a good lesson I think for the Yanks. I think they decided after some real bad years with a lot of old overpaid guys that they needed to transition to a much younger team by relying heavily on their farm system which was improving and becoming pretty highly rated. Going into 2013, they knew they weren’t there yet with their young players so they signed a bunch of mid-range FAs to relatively short contracts to act as a bridge until when their home grown players were ready. But much to their surprise (and everyone else’s) they won a world championship with the bridge guys!

    But here’s the real interesting part. After winning the championship last year, they didn’t change their approach of going young and homegrown this year. They let some expensive vets walk like Ellsbury and now they’re looking at a lineup just dominated by their prospects with little chance of turning their current team into a competitive club for 2014. And the Drew signing just makes this whole thing even worse. Their two best prospects by far, Boegarts and Betts, will be playing out of position for the rest of the year.

    There’s nothing wrong with getting Younger and Better but you have to do it somewhat gradually and there has to be an effective transition plan. I think the Yanks have been super lucky so far (or maybe super good in development) that they have done so well integrating three young pitchers into their starting rotation. I think the limit should be one. You can integrate a couple young guys into the bullpen but more than one in the rotation will usually get you 2008. And with the lineup, I’d say one young starter at a time as well. A couple young bench or platoon guys you can work in but adding 3-4 young prospects into your major league lineup at once is just going to make your team look like the Marlins or the Royals in their really bad years.

    So the Red Sox are pretty interesting. The Yanks need to continue the process of getting Younger and Better but the Sox aren’t the model. Having the right mix of rookies, young vets, older vets (Tex), and real old vets (who aren’t playing SS) is the key.

    If this were simple, everybody could do it.

  23. Pat M. June 28th, 2014 at 7:10 pm

    pete22, very strong and very fast hands . I remember after our season was over in 72 I went out to Shea to see Willie Mays who was traded to The Mets that summer and it had been about 4 years since I saw Willie play. I was stunned to see how we were both the same size ( 5-10 / 180 pounds ) But Wille was strong and his hands were a blur even with that hitch of his….

  24. bigdan22 June 28th, 2014 at 7:11 pm

    Finally Pirela in RF.

    Soriano is def on the Yanks clock.

    He was on my clock over a month ago. Some folks are just slow.

  25. tomingeorgia June 28th, 2014 at 7:14 pm

    I don’t think any of my posts have exceeded fifty words, unless I was telling a story. To instruct the dullards? No.

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