April 27, 2011

Obvious Yankees headline fail

*Breaking news* from Aaron Gleeman of NBC Sports Hardball Talk:
Why would the Yankees drop Rafael Soriano from the setup man role after one poor month (not even)? 

April 25, 2011

Nate’s Takes: Granderson, Gardner, Joba & Predictions

Happy Easter everyone! Last week on Nate’s Takes I predicted the Yankees would take four out of five games in the week. Well the Yankees had yet another rainout, but managed to take three out of four (It could have been all four if not for a shaky week from Mariano Rivera).

If you also remember I predicted that Rivera would allow his first run of the season. I didn’t do a very good job predicting hockey and basketball so I think I will stick to baseball from now one. Hopefully now that the week is over Rivera can go back to being his own self. Here is what I have for the week.

Poll Results: LOOGY is ‘important’ to ‘pen

poll results71 You might be asking yourself, what in the world is a LOOGY? Well, it is a creative acronym for Left-handed One Out GuY. For reference, Pedro Feliciano, Damaso Marte and Boone Logan all are classified as LOOGYs. In my latest poll, the majority of voters said LOOGYs are important, but not vital to a bullpen. Twenty-seven percent voted the LOOGY is overrated.

Feliciano and Marte are both on the disabled list, and, sadly, will likely be out of baseball until next spring.

April 24, 2011

Is Elias wrong about A-Rod’s six-RBI games?

UPDATE: In reference to the table below, 9+4+1=14. Elias win, Lenny fail. Thanks, TFabp. (Still, Marchand never said “six or more” in his post.)

I discovered this last night when YES Network’s Michael Kay started talking about Alex Rodriguez’s six-RBI games for his career. Kay said he had 14 on the broadcast. ESPN’s Andrew Marchand mentioned the same statistic in a blog post, citing the Elias Sports Bureau.

arod rbiHowever, there seems to be a discrepancy on Baseball Reference (see right). I think both Kay and Marchand were fed false information, because, like one of my Twitter followers pointed out,  Baseball Reference shows A-Rod has exactly 14 five-RBI games.

April 23, 2011

Yankees-Orioles series preview: Weather permitting

The Orioles got off to a hot start, but after hitting the 6-1 mark, they’ve tailed off to 8-10. This weekend they play host to the Yankees for just two games because yesterday’s game got postponed. Since 2000, the Yankees are 131-67 against the O’s.

On the Hill:
Saturday: CC Sabathia (0-1, 2.52) vs. Brad Bergesen (0-2, 3.38)
Sunday: Freddy Garcia (1-0, 1.29) vs. Jake Arrieta (2-1, 5.06)

April 21, 2011

Bartolo Colon pitches Yankees to 6-2 win

Bartolo Colon pitched beautifully to earn his first win major league win since May 26, 2009.

Scoreboard Says:
Yankees 6, Blue Jays 2
Win: Bartolo Colon
Loss: Brett Cecil
Save: Rafael Soriano

Curtis Granderson tripled and homered in the win. He is tied with Mark Teixeira for the team-lead in homers (6). Teixeira had three doubles on the night, by the way.

April 20, 2011

Mariano Rivera Jr. coming to Quinnipiac

Looks like I might be seeing the Riveras roaming Quinnipiac’s campus next year. My school newspaper, the Chronicle, exclusively reported today Mariano Rivera III will come to Quinnipiac next year.

Mariano Rivera Jr., the son of New York Yankees famed closer Mariano Rivera, said in a phone interview Friday he will attend Quinnipiac University in the fall and will try out for the baseball team, attempting to walk on as a pitcher.

“My parents were supporting me 100 percent; they want me to go here,” Rivera said. “I have to prove to them that I’m ready for college and I’m on my own basically.”

Mo gets touched up, Yanks fall in 10

The Yankees had Tuesday night’s game set up just the way they like it for the last two innings: a two-run lead with their setup man and closer freshly waiting to do their jobs. Rafael Soriano did his part, but a team finally got to Mariano Rivera. The Blue Jays tied the score in the ninth and won it in the 10th.

Scoreboard Says:
Blue Jays 6, Yankees 5
Win: Jon Rauch
Loss: Ivan Nova

Two Firsts for Mo:
Mo hadn’t given up a single run all season, including spring training. Nate’s Takes predicted Mo would give up a run this week, so be sure to read into his opinions every Monday. The Blue Jays really had him solved Tuesday night, slapping four hits and working a walk. (That was Mo’s first walk of 2011, too.)

April 19, 2011

Yankees-Blue Jays Series Preview: 2 at the dome

The Yankees made their first trip over the north border in 2011 for a two-game series with the Blue Jays.

The Red Sox just won their last three games against the Blue Jays, while the Yankees are coming off a series win against the Rangers.

On the Hill:
Tuesday: A.J. Burnett (3-0, 4.67) vs. Kyle Drabek (1-0, 1.93)
Wednesday: Bartolo Colon (0-1, 3.97) vs. Brett Cecil (1-1, 3.97)

April 18, 2011

Nate’s Takes: Soriano, Hughes, predictions

Hello again everyone. After a win against the Texas Rangers Sunday Night, the Yankees stand at 9-5 which is good enough for first place in the AL East. Last week I predicted the Yankees would go 3-3 against the Orioles and Rangers. Again Mother Nature didn’t want the Yankees to play a mid-week game, but they still finished ahead of my prediction at 4-1. Meanwhile this was a well-played five games for the Yankees following a tough series in Boston. Here is my take on the week.

I am willing to give Rafael Soriano a break since the weather has been really bad. Hopefully he can turn into the eighth inning option we all expected (he looked good Sunday night). The thing is that with all these earned runs early it will be really hard for him to have an ERA below three or four this year. He has allowed six earned runs this year after only allowing twelve all of last year. If we get to August and our eighth inning “closer” has an ERA of 4.50, are other teams at all intimidated? Also, he will definitely be picking up that twelve million dollar option.

Poll Results: Derek Jeter will hit below 2nd

poll results70

My latest poll results indicate Derek Jeter will hit below second in the order this season — meaning his early season struggles will continue (.241/.311/.259). I voted with the majority because I believe he should, but I don’t see the Yankees actually making that switch. Demoting Derek would be a bad, bad press move.

I said it on Twitter recently and I’ll reiterate it here: I plan to keep my mouth shut about an obvious aspect of Jeter’s game until May 1. That’s 13 full days from now…

Next poll: How important is a lefty bullpen specialist?

April 16, 2011

lenNY’s Yankees featured on The Bronx Ink

I came across something interesting last night on a Google Alert for my name.

A Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism class produced a website called The Bronx Ink, and one of its writers featured lenNY’s Yankees in the “Digital Bronx” section of the website.

Check it out if you want a little perspective on the Yankees blogosphere.

April 15, 2011

Rangers-Yankees Series Preview: Bring on the heat!

The Yankees begin a three-game set with the Rangers at Yankee Stadium tonight. Below, you’ll find an intimidating list of opposing pitchers’ records. Note: Hopefully now you have less doubts of me predicting the Rangers to represent the AL in the World Series again this year.

Also, keep in mind Josh Hamilton just landed on the DL. The Rangers are weakened, but they are still a powerful squad without their star.

On the Hill:
Friday: Matt Harrison (2-0, 1.29) vs. Ivan Nova (1-0, 6.10)
Saturday: Derek Holland (2-0, 2.25) vs. Freddy Garcia (0-0, 9.00)
Sunday: Alexi Ogando (2-0, 0.00) vs. CC Sabathia (0-1, 1.45)

Hughes Blues continue, Phil headed to DL

Joe Girardi announced today that Phil Hughes is going to the disabled list, as he’s experiencing a “dead arm period.” After his strong performance in relief of Hughes last night, Bartolo Colon will take Hughes’s spot.

Right-hander Lance Pendleton will take Hughes’s spot on the roster. In 2010, he went 12-5 with a 3.61 ERA for Trenton and Scranton.

Girardi on Hughes:

MLB ‘leaning toward’ expanding instant replay

The Associated Press reported yesterday that “Major League Baseball is leaning toward expanding replay for the 2012 season to include trapped balls and fair-or-foul rulings down the lines, a personal familiar with the talks tells The Associated Press.”

I know I’m in the minority here, but here are my views on instant replay in baseball. Last January, I said “Fair/foul calls under review wouldn't be the worst thing in the world, but calls on the bases and balls and strikes must remain pure.” I stand by that statement.

Yankees rally from 5 down, beat O’s in 10

Nick Swisher hit a sac fly in the bottom of the 10th to complete a come-from-behind victory over the Orioles. The Yankees trailed 5-0 after 4-1/2 innings and then stormed back for six unanswered runs. 

Scoreboard Says:
Yankees 6, Orioles 5
Win: Mariano Rivera
Loss: Michael Gonzalez

April 14, 2011

Swapping Phil Hughes and Bartolo Colon

Tonight is a very important night for Phil Hughes, according to NY Post’s Joel Sherman. He proposed this morning that if Hughes pitches poorly again tonight, Bartolo Colon could take his spot in the rotation and Hughes could be moved back to the bullpen. Sherman’s gut tells him Hughes likely would go to the minors rather than the bullpen in order to work out his pitching problems without having to think about winning.

Two months ago, I would have laughed at the idea. Now that Colon is on the team and pitching well, I actually have to consider it.

Andruw Jones Featured Card of the Week

Sticking with the theme of current Yankees in their old uniforms, this week’s Featured Card of the Week is Andruw Jones. Be honest, did anyone forget he was on this team?

The Yankees signed him in the offseason for $2 million, and he has five plate appearances through 10 games.

Yankees keep homering at home, beat O’s

With two more homers at Yankee Stadium in tonight’s 7-4 win over the Orioles, the Yankees lead the majors in home runs at home. Both teams share a lead for the AL East lead at 6-4. Oh wait, it’s still April.

Scoreboard Says:
Yankees 7, Orioles 4
Win: A.J. Burnett
Loss: Chris Tillman
Save: Mariano Rivera

April 13, 2011

Orioles-Yankees Series Preview: Battle for 1st place

The Yankees start the series one game behind the Orioles in the AL East. The Orioles are one of the most surprising teams thus far, but not many expect them to contend with Boston and New York by September.

On the Hill:
Wednesday: Chris Tillman (0-0, 3.38) vs. A.J. Burnett (2-0, 4.09)
Thursday: Jake Arrieta (1-1, 8.68) vs. Phil Hughes (0-1, 16.50)

Hector Noesi replaces injured Luis Ayala

With Luis Ayala headed to the DL, Hector Noesi was called up to take his spot as the last man in the bullpen.

The Yankees placed Ayala on the 15-day DL today after he sustained an injury to his lat muscle on Saturday. Ayala allowed two earned runs in his first appearance as a Yankee, but then pitched a scoreless inning against Minnesota and then two more against Boston.

In one Triple-A start this season, Noesi allowed three runs (two earned) on nine hits over five innings whiles striking out four.

Alec Baldwin & John Krasinski smack talk in New Era commercial [Video]

Alec Baldwin is a Yankees fan and John Krasinski is a Red Sox fan. They both go at it here in a comical New Era commercial (via Huffington Post & tweep @danielramosnyc).

I enjoyed the ending.

April 11, 2011

Nate’s Takes: Soriano, Logan, Burnett, Jeter, Hughes, A-Rod

Well I wanted the Yankees to walk out of Fenway with the Red Sox 0-9. Instead the Yankees find themselves just one game over .500. The Yankees are now two weeks into the season and have basically confirmed what we thought we knew about this team. They can hit and hit with power (18 homers in their first nine games is insane). If they lead after six innings they are very hard to beat (minus a Rafael Soriano meltdown). Their rotation is very shaky and you don’t know what you are going to get besides C.C. Sabathia.

Last week I predicted they would have a 6-3 record going into Sunday night’s game against the Boston Red Sox. Unfortunately Mother Nature didn’t cooperate and the Yankees went 5-3 (I am still counting that as a correct prediction by me). So here is what I have learned/ observed about this team this week.

Poll Results: Bartolo Colon will be gone by the end of the month

poll results69The majority of voters said long reliever Bartolo Colon won’t be on the Yankees’ roster in May. His replacement could be the latest Yankees signee, another old starter, Carlos Silva, to a minor league deal.

Silva had a solid year for the Cubs in 2010 (10-6, 4.22 ERA), and is known for throwing strikes. In 2006, he threw a few too many strikes, as he led the league in home runs allowed (38).

Colon has picked up a loss in two appearances this season, but he has eaten 8-1/3 innings. It’s nice to have a mop-up man in the pen and I don’t mind Colon being that guy until he really starts to get bombed.

Next poll: Will Derek Jeter hit below second in the lineup this season?

April 8, 2011

Red Sox win, Phil Hughes doesn’t know where his fastball velocity went

“For whatever reason it’s coming along slowly,” Phil Hughes said. “It’s kind of a helpless feeling.”

Phil is right. He hasn’t helped one bit in his first two starts of 2011. In fact, he lost both games and looked awful losing them.

Scoreboard Says:
Red Sox 9, Yankees 6
Win: John Lackey
Loss: Bartolo Colon
Save: Jonathan Papelbon

Yankees-Red Sox Series Preview: ‘Stinky Sox’

stinky sox daily news back pageThe NY Daily News oh-so cleverly called out the Red Sox today to light the fire to the first rivalry matchup of the season.

Heading into the series at Fenway Park, the Red Sox are still winless at 0-6 — tied for the second-worst start in franchise history — and the Yankees are in good position after two home series at 4-2. If the Red Sox lose again today, frustration levels will rise and the chances of a fight breaking out will soar.

5 Yankees minor leaguers to watch in 2011

I hereby declare 2011 the year of the three B’s and two C’s. That motto refers to the Yankees’ top five prospects: three pitching prospects with last names beginning with ‘B’ and two catchers.

Three B’s Throws Birthday Two C’s Bats Birthday
Manny Banuelos L 3/13/91 Jesus Montero R 11/29/89
Dellin Betances R 3/23/88 Gary Sanchez R 12/2/92
Andrew Brackman R 12/4/85      
It was Opening Day yesterday for Minor League Baseball, and like always River Ave. Blues has the scoop on DotF.

On lenNY’s Yankees, I like to check in on prospects from time to time. This season, I expect you’ll be hearing a lot about the three B’s and two C’s. Here’s a start.

April 7, 2011

My preseason World Series picks will shock you, but they’re looking good right now

In an offseason that the best got better (Phillies, Red Sox), who would’ve picked the Rangers (6-0) and Reds (5-0) to make the World Series? That would be me, and neither team has lost through a week of play.

Meanwhile, the all-mighty Red Sox join the Rays and Astros as the only winless teams in baseball. [Full standings]

Perhaps I’m getting a bit too excited — OK, I am — but it’s still cool to see the Red Sox and Rays winless after a week.

Speaking of odd predictions looking good right now: one commenter said to watch out for the Orioles this year. The Orioles, really? Yeah, well they’re in first place and have looked great under Buck Showalter’s management.

Now it’s time to explain my surprising World Series picks.

April 6, 2011

Yankees rained out tonight, gives them 1 more day to mull last night’s collapse

Rain has postponed Freddy Garcia’s debut as a Yankee tonight, so the Yankees will have to wait one more day to get over last night’s extra-inning loss to the Twins.

For those who haven’t heard those sickening details, here they are.

Scoreboard Says:
Twins 5, Yankees 4
Win: Matt Capps
Loss: Boone Logan
Save: Joe Nathan

April 5, 2011

Curtis Granderson Featured Card of the Week

In light of this weekend’s Detroit Tigers series, here’s a card of fan favorite Curtis Granderson.

It will be interesting to see how Curtis fares in his sophomore season with the Mets. It will also be interesting to see when Curtis ends up being picked in this year's fantasy baseball drafts. He's clearly a third, or even a fourth outfield option, so he may wind up going undrafted in some leagues.

April 4, 2011

Yankees-Twins Series Preview: Better late than never

The Yankees host the Twins for four more at Yankee Stadium before heading up to Boston to wrap up the weekend. The Yankees have had their way with the Twins since 2002. Here’s an excerpt from Cliff Corcoran’s series preview:

The Twins have gone 16-45 (.262) against the Yankees since Ron Gardenhire took over as their manager in 2002. That doesn’t count their 2-12 record against the Bombers in postseason games, the component parts of four Division Series losses dating back to 2003. Add those games in, and Gardenhire’s overall record against New York drops to 18-57, a miserable .240 “winning” percentage over 75 games.

Nate’s takes: Colon, Long, Tex, Hughes & Gardner

All right, now that I’ve introduced myself let’s talk about this season. First I just wanted to say that anything that has happened in the first three games means very little. As fans, we tend to overreact to small sample sizes so I will do my best to keep things in perspective.

In a wild first three games that featured home run after home run, the Yankees have to be happy with taking two of three from a potential contender. Although Sunday’s game wasn’t pretty from the pitching side, Yankee fans are drooling over what this offense can do this year. I have made a list of my observations so far in this young season.

Guest Blogger Nathan Hirsch makes his debut on lenNY’s Yankees

Hey readers, my name is Nathan Hirsch and Lenny has given me an opportunity to do some guest blogging. The idea is for me to make a weekly post every Monday morning. Hopefully I can help Lenny expand and improve on what has already been a successful blog. Every week I would like to do a summary of the week that was, along with a look ahead at the upcoming schedule. For this post, I would like to introduce myself and hopefully get to know some of the readers.

Poll Results: Mark Teixeira will have a good April [LOL]

poll results68 Based on what we’ve seen so far, I’m not saying another word regarding Mark Teixeira and April curses.

Next poll: How long will Bartolo Colon stay on the roster?

April 3, 2011

Yankees power their way over Tigers

Mark Teixeira's second three-run homer in as many games fueled the Yankees' second victory in a row, and the game wasn't as close as the scoreboard indicated. Russell Martin and Alex Rodriguez each added homers in the win, while a Yankees fan threw back the ball ex-Yankee Austin Jackson deposited in the bleachers.

As always, I hope when I go to today's game it is just like yesterday or a true pitchers' duel. I'm in the city right now, and it looks like it will be a beautiful day.

Scoreboard Says:
Yankees 10, Tigers 6
Win: A.J. Burnett
Loss: Brad Penny
Save: Mariano Rivera

A Dozen it is:
The Yankees banged out 12 hits against the Tigers, seven of which off Penny.

April 2, 2011

Russell Martin shows value on Opening Day

The catcher position is underrated. Jorge Posada held down the position for the past 15 years, and even though he didn’t provide the best defense, he still had a great feel for all pitchers’ repertoires. The Yankees were well aware of their young catchers in the farm system before signing Russell Martin. They also understood how important he’d be.

Stability is a necessity at catcher. Martin brings that to the table.

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