Bronx Bomber Bulletin 4/14/15
Bronx Bomber Bulletin 4/14/15
Greetings Yankee fans! As well all know the Yankees season is now under way as the regular season in major league baseball has begun. With the beginning of the new season comes the beginning of new installments at the Bronx Bomber Blog.
The first of which will be series recaps throughout the year and the second, which you are reading now, will be called the "Bronx Bomber Bulletin" and will prove updates and thoughts on how the team is doing as the season progresses.
At this time, the Yankees are 3-4, having lost two of three to both Boston and Toronto and having won the season opener against the Orioles in Baltimore. Let’s dive into some notables thus far!Errors are killing the Yankees. In fact, the Yankees lead the majors with an MLB high nine errors through only seven games. That’s averaging more than one error per game which is completely unacceptable, especially for a team that emphasized upgrading on defense with additions such as Didi Gregorius, whom is considered to be a defense-first shortstop. Without Mark Teixeira playing his butt off at first, this number could be even higher. The Yankees aren’t going to win games if they keep making errors at this pace. Last night against the Orioles the team was error free and got the win, showing how important making routine plays is.
Speaking of Didi Gregorius, the heir to Derek Jeter has been incredibly underwhelming thus far. I don’t think anyone expected him to hit, and he isn’t (.130 batting average), but he also hasn’t impressed anyone in the field and has made some boneheaded base running mistakes. Even if he plays well there’s a chance the Yankees will upgrade at shortstop next year, but if he doesn’t turn it around he might lose his starting role this year.
How could Didi lose his starting gig? For starters Stephen Drew is finally hitting the ball. His defense has been shoddy (two errors), but last night he came through with a clutch grand slam which ended up winning the game. He’s homered in back to back games and is looking like he’s finally got his timing and his swing back. If Gregorius isn’t going to play solid defense, the team might as well slide Drew to shortstop and make room for either Rob Refsnyder or Jose Pirela, who are each major league ready with the bat, at least.
At one point Alex Rodriguez was leading the Yankees in batting average at .300. At the time of this writing Jacoby Ellsbury now holds the lead at .296 (A-Rod took an 0-4 last night). Regardless, it’s huge that Alex is contributing and on a big level. It can be argued that he’s been the Yankees best weapon thus far as he’s knocked in six runs. If he can hit even 20 home runs and 60-70 runs batted in, the team would be stoked and that could make the Yankees serious contenders.
One thing that should concern Yankees fans in terms of contending is the starting pitching thus far. The Yankees as a team are third in the league in pitching strikeouts sitting at 66 (Michael Pineda has 15 of them), but it should say something that Esmil Rogers has the lowest ERA among qualifying Yankees pitchers (3.68) and he’s not even a starter.
Masahiro Tanaka continues to scare the daylights out of Yankees fans. His last two starts were far from stellar as he’s given up 9 H 5 BB 7 ER 2 HR in just two starts. It seems to be the fun thing to do to talk about his diminished velocity, but that’s not the issue, command is. He’s leaving balls over the plate or way outside the zone and it doesn’t look pretty. Coupled with the fact he could completely blow his elbow out at any given moment, things don’t look too bright for the expensive righty thus far.
Speaking of control issues Dellin Betances walked another two last night and seems like he has any idea where the ball is going when he throws it. He was historically good last year, however, and I am sure he will turn it around.
With Betances struggling, thank goodness for Andrew Miller. He’s been absolute ice for a team in dire need of a shutdown reliever for the end of games and notched his second save last night, a five-outer, and will likely continue in that roll until or even after Betances straightens out.
Michael Pineda has been the best Yankee pitcher thus far despite giving up five runs last night. Pineda owns a 1.84 FIP through two starts so far for the Yankees and has a 15-1 K/BB count to go with it. Big Mike looks like he will end up being the most consistently solid starter for the Yankees this year so long as he’s healthy.
In his first start of the year for the Yankees, Nathan Eovaldi did what he does: Give up a bunch of hits. He gave up eight hits in just 5.1 innings and only struck out one. Eovaldi continues to struggle to put hitters away and eerily reminds of Phil Hughes and how he struggled to finish off hitters in 0-2 counts. Maybe it was just to create salary room, but I still can’t figure out why the team traded Martin Prado for this guy. Eovaldi showed promise in spring training, but he didn’t lead the national league in hits allowed for no reason last year. Keep expectations low and maybe we will get surprised.
Before the season started, I wrote that if Mark Teixeira could stay healthy, he was in for a big year. Well, typically slow starting Tex is off to a blistering start thus far and already has himself three homeruns. What’s interesting is they’ve all been while batting right handed (two against right handed pitchers, though they were knuckle ballers). I’ve always wondered if Teixeira should make the full time switch to batting right handed much like Shane Victorino did. It’s Teixeira’s best side in terms of making contact and he wouldn’t be so pull happy as he is while batting left handed trying to reach that short porch in Yankee stadium. If he can get equally hot from the left side though, Teixeira is in for one heck of a season and could hit 30 homers.
Another switch hitter for the Yankees, Carlos Beltran, has been just plain awful. Through three games he’s hitting a paltry .143 with an equally bad .167 OBP. I previously wrote that he in no way belongs in the three whole for the Yankees, but now I’m wondering if he belongs in the lineup at all. He looks totally overmatched and lost at the plate and his struggles have nothing to do with help. If it were me, I would make the heating up Chris Young the everyday right fielder. I could write all day about how bad Beltran has been, but I will stop here.
The other switch hitter for the Yankees Chase Headley is starting to get hot as well. A clutch home run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to tie it against the Red Sox then another to contribute to the beat down the Yankees put on them Sunday has it looking like Chase will at least come reasonably close to returning to that 2012 form in which he led the NL in RBIs in a pretty Padres lineup. He’s made two errors thus far, but that will iron out, as we all know and saw how lights out he was at third last year.
That will do it for the first edition of the Bronx Bomber Bulletin folks! On behalf of Chad and I we thank you so very much for your viewership of our blog, it's quite humbling that you all support us so much. We have grown considerably since the season's start and we hope to continue to entertain and update you guys as this team tries to get a back on top, where it belongs!
By: Nick Scott
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