Bumpy Ride

For Boston sports fans, this past Monday, Patriots Day, was a great day.

Boston Marathon

Boston Red Sox – 11:05am start

Boston Celtics – playoff game

Boston Bruins – playoff game

All on the same day, pretty neat stuff.

As for the Red Sox, they’ve righted their ship somewhat and things appear much better than just a week ago. That said, I find my self impatiently waiting for the return of Julio Lugo.  How can that be you ask?  Well with Jed Lowrie out for 8-10 weeks (wrist surgery) and Nick Green filling in, the Red Sox need Lugo back.

Green is good with the glove, but doesn’t offer much with the bat.  He is a nice short term option, but won’t give you much more than a .650 OPS over any long stretch.

Rocco Baldelli was also put on the DL with a hamstring strain.  Jeff Bailey was purchased from AAA Pawtucket to take his place.  I love Bailey’s bat, but the sad part of this promotion is that Bailey will have to pass through waivers (and accept) his assignment back to Pawtucket when Baldelli returns meaning this might be his last trip to Boston.

Since my last post where I moaned and groaned about the lack of offense, the Red Sox have hit .318, gotten on base at a .407 clip and slugged .543.  They’ve averaged 7.6 runs over this 5 game win streak.  Not bad.

David Ortiz showed some signs of breaking out in his last game, but he remains the most concerning element.

The Red Sox will try to play 2 today, but the night game is questionable with rain on its way.  Then the Yankees come to town for a 3 game set starting Friday.  Chien-Ming Wang, originally scheduled to throw batting practice to Red Sox batters on Friday, has been pushed back so he can work on his mechanics.  Probably a good idea on the Yankees part.  Not that the Red Sox line-up is the best in baseball, but they have enough veterans capable of piling it on.

Somewhat Good News.

Xavier Nady will not need surgery and should be able to return in 4-6 weeks.  That’s the good news, the bad news is he has a partial tear in his right elbow and that could affect his ability to throw a baseball more than anything.

So, the Yankees could essentially have two outfielders on the roster who can’t really play the outfield.  That is a less than optimal situation, but there is really nothing they can do about it.  Neither one is really tradeable at this point and both should hit enough to make it worth while.  

Now with the Nady timetable the 60-day DL is out of the question which means adding a player to the 40-man roster is going to require someone to be released.  I don’t see the Yankees doing that, but I hope they don’t plan on carrying 13 pitchers for the forseeable future.   

Rotation Fun

It was a simple plan, just use the off day to reset the rotation and avoid Wang in Fenway, now rain has screwed that up.  Whoever takes the ball tomorrow won’t be ready to pitch until Sunday meaning the Yankees have some interesting choices. 

Pettitte was scheduled to start tonight with Sabthia and Joba following him.  You could move Pettitte and Sabathia down a spot and then start Joba, Burnett and Pettitte in Fenway.  That gives everyone extra rest, which is probably the way to go, but you could get creative.  Skip Joba entirely until Sunday in Fenway.  Pitch Wang, save Sabthia for Fenway, a plethora of decisions await and with the rain we probably won’t have a clue until tomorrow. 

 

UPDATE: I was wrong about the wait, looks like Joba will start things in Fenway.  Youkilis better buckle up his chin strap.

Do Mystique And Aura Have A New Address?

Sure it’s not October, but today’s events were pretty strange.  Start with Jorge’s home run, is anyone really sure if it was or wasn’t?  (On a side note, why don’t the umps just go immediately to replay if they have a question about a play instead of talking it over on the field and further delaying the game)  Then, that ball that Ransom hit is totally lost in the sun, allowing three runs.  Strange stuff, but glad to see it happen. 

Pitcher Du Jour

Steven Jackson is up today with Anthony Claggett back to the minors.  This is kind of fun, the Yankees have 20-something pitchers on their 40-man roster and they appear willing to use all of them in April.

They are still reading Nady’s MRI’s, so they haven’t figured out what to do with him yet, but expect another roster move if they move him to the 60-day DL.   

What Now?

It’s 13-2, Chien-Ming Wang was rocked again and the new stadium looks like Coors Field.  At this rate this game might end 30-2.

I have no idea what the Yankees can do about it, but the ball really carries at the new place.  Today is pretty warm, but can you imagine what the scores are going to be in July if the ball carries like this in April?

As for Wang, I think the Yankees need to find an "injury" that will allow them to DL him and get him some minor league rehab starts.  At the very least, they need to use the offday on Thursday to reorder their rotation and keep Wang from making his next start Friday night at Fenway.  They can easily do it, just pitch Burnett, Pettitte and Sabathia on their regular rest and save Wang for the Detroit series.

What the Yankees really have to do is rethink their position on a long reliever.  The bullpen is going to be fried by the end of the month at this rate.  Claggett has already thrown 33 pitches and we haven’t reached the 3rd inning.  So, you probably have the other bullpen guys pitching six innings today, not good at all.  What will probably happen now is the Yankees will use Nady’s injury to add a pitcher to the 40-man, perhaps Brett Tomko since he is pitching well at Scranton.  Aceves has gotten shelled in Scranton so far, so I don’t think it will be him.   

13 Pitchers

The Yankees brought up Anthony Claggett today and optioned Juan Miranda down.  With Wang pitching today, it makes sense to have an extra arm just in case.  One other thing the Yankees should consider is splitting up Joba and Wang so they don’t follow eachother in the rotation.  They will have a chance to do that next week with the off day.

It will be interesting to see what the next move is.  Nady is having another MRI today, but unless it shows something entirely different, he will probably be lost for the season.  That means he goes on the 60-day DL and the Yankees could then add someone to their 40-man roster.  I would bet that means a new bat for the bench, just wondering who will get the call.   

The Forgotten Prospect

Eric Duncan was once the jewel of the Yankees’ farm system, but he seemed to max out at AAA and was left unprotected after the 2007 season.  Yet, Duncan has continued to toil at AAA in Scranton, playing first, third and even some outfield.  What’s important to remember about Duncan is he is still only 24 and he has started this season .364/.440/.500.

When you look at the Yankees’ offense so far this season you have Cano, Swisher, Jeter and Posada doing the bulk of the production right now with Teixeira starting to emerge, Garnder not walking enough, Matsui struggling and Ransom killing the team.  Also, it sounds like Xavier Nady is going to miss the season with an elbow injury and Matsui’s knee is balking again.   

I will get to the outfield problem in a minute, but for now I want to go back to Ransom.  Ransom is 4-for-33 with 11 strikeouts.  There is a reason that Ransom is 33 and has only had about 250 AB’s in the majors and the Yankees are seeing that right now.  The Yankees don’t need to panic and make a trade, but they need to get more production from third than they are currently receiving.  Ramiro Pena is a nice prospect, but with zero AB’s above AA before this season (and limited success in those AB’s) it is unrealistic to think he can hit much at the major league level.  Plus, I think long term the Yankees would be better off putting Pena in the starting lineup at AAA everyday and seeing what his bat does.  So, why not give Duncan a crack?  Miranda can only play first, which is really not a position the Yankees need help with.  As I mentioned previously, Duncan can play multiple positions and would give the Yankees some nice depth.  Who knows, he may even hit a little bit. 

Now, on to the outfield.  I am officially worried about the current situation.  Nady is probably lost for the year, Matsui’s knee is a problem just from being on base.  So, a position that was a strength going into the season is now a weakness, only eleven games in.  

I hope the Yankees recognize this and try and fortify the outfield.  There are not a lot of great options in the minors.  Austin Jackson needs to play every day and Shelly Duncan has not shown the ability to thrive on the bench.  How about taking a flier on Jim Edmonds, currently unsigned?   Edmonds managed 20 homers last season and got on base 34% of the time.  Yes, he is old, but he probably can still hit and it wouldn’t cost much to find out either way.  If Garnder continues to struggle you could put him in at center. The point is, something needs to be done if Nady is truly lost for the year.  Chances are Matsui will be down for stretches of the season and you cannot bank on Damon playing 150 games.  Plan B right now is Melky and we know what that means.   

It’s Robertson

The Yankees have placed Nady on the DL and called up David Robertson.  The fact that it is Robertson makes me think another move is coming up. I don’t think the Yankees want 13 pitchers and I suspect that if they really did, they would have called up a long reliever like Aceves. 

But, they didn’t, they picked Robertson.  I would guess that they did it as a placeholder because assuming Nady’s injury is as bad as rumored, he will go on the 60-day DL.  Once that is done, they can put a new player on the 40-man roster.  Since Miranda and Cervelli are the only hitters on the 40-man right now, I think they go that route and then recall Duncan or someone like that.   

Quick View

The Red Sox arrive back in Boston with a 3-6 record.  Here’s why (sorry in advance if the formatting looks terrible):

Player

Avg

Obp

Slg

R

HR

RBI

SB

BB

K

Ellsbury

.194

.256

.194

2

0

2

4

3

5

Pedroia

.179

.238

.308

6

1

1

2

3

3

Ortiz

.176

.293

.206

2

0

3

0

6

8

Youkilis

.472

.537

.722

8

2

5

1

5

4

Drew

.233

.281

.500

4

2

6

0

2

7

Bay

.345

.513

.724

6

2

7

0

10

5

Lowell

.229

.270

.457

3

2

8

0

1

5

Lowrie

.056

.150

.056

0

0

0

0

2

8

Varitek

.200

.286

.520

2

2

2

0

3

3

 

When your 1, 2 and 3 hitters are all below the Mendoza line, things are never good.  Wednesday’s game was a welcomed change, but we need to see more of that.  Where would they be without Youkilis and Bay?

Player

W

L

ERA

WHIP

IP

K

Beckett

1

1

3.46

1.15

13.0

15

Lester

0

2

9.00

1.82

11.0

10

Matsuzaka

0

1

12.79

3.00

6.3

5

Wakefield

1

1

3.00

1.13

15.0

8

Penny

1

0

4.50

1.17

6.0

2

Okajima

0

0

6.75

1.50

4.0

5

Saito

0

0

7.71

1.72

2.3

3

Lopez

0

1

7.36

2.18

3.7

2

I’m being somewhat selective here, but you can see some of the starters have been terrible and 3 members of the bullpen have struggled.  Kudos to Papelbon, Ramirez and Delcarmen thus far in the pen (although Delcarmen has walked 4 in 4 innings…)

The Red Sox have essentially started the season with a slump.  Let’s hope that home cooking and Baltimore as an opponent will help right the ship.