Put a Stake Through the Yankees Heart
2013 could be the year when New York falls apart, but I’ll believe it when I see it.
ESPN’s Buster Olney wrote The Last Night of the Yankees Dynasty back in 2004. The book focused on New York’s dominant run from 1996-2000 when the franchise captured four World Series titles in five seasons. Olney’s title was a bit premature. Sure, the Yankees didn’t win another title until the 2009 season, but the team has made the playoffs in 17 of the last 18 seasons. That dynastic run may finally come to an end this season.
Since the start of Spring Training New York has lost CF Curtis Granderson and 1B Mark Teixeira to injury; both stars could be out until early June. Alex Rodriguez might miss the entire season as he recovers from another injury to his troublesome hip. Derek Jeter is coming back from a broken ankle suffered in last year’s playoffs, a tough task for anyone much less a 39-year-old playing shortstop. Age has even caught up to New York’s GM Brian Cashman, who suffered a broken leg jumping out of an airplane for charity earlier this week.Pin It Tweet
Root, Root, Root for the …Yankees?
At least on the tee-ball field.
I’m officially a baseball coach. Tee-ball to be exact.
I helped out with my son’s tee-ball squad last year on an unofficial basis. I wasn’t involved in practices and generally tried to keep the bench from degenerating into a scene from Porky’s during games. It was fun to see my little guy having fun and making friends with his teammates, but mostly I was glad I wasn’t the coach.
When January rolled around my son and I headed up to the local township building to register for another season of. On our way into the building we had this exchange:
Dad: Are you excited for tee-ball?
Greyson: I’m excited that you’ll be on the field with me.
Dad: What do you mean?
Greyson: You’re gonna be my coach.Pin It Tweet
AL East Bias - 4/29/13 Edition
In my bi-weekly column for IhateJJRedick.com I wrote about the AL East and its preponderance of punch and judy shortstops. Also, Francisco Cervelli broke his hand over the weekend thus fulfilling my prediction for a decline in his performance.
The American League East is suddenly over run with weak hitting, punchless shortstops. Injuries to Jose Reyes and Derek Jeter, Boston’s ongoing shortstop quagmire, and declines from JJ Hardy and Yunel Escobar have left the AL East with a growing collection of unproductive shortstops. Jeter isn’t expected to return to the Yankees lineup for another couple of months. His absence has left Joe Girardi with the daily task of choosing between Eduardo Nunez (.467 OPS) and Jayson Nix(.612 OPS). Their names might as well be Punch and Judy. Jose Reyes’ severe ankle sprain has left the underwhelming Blue Jays with Maicer Izturis and Munenori Kawasaki and his career .505 OPS at short. JJ Hardy has been in a slump that’s now spanned two seasons for the Orioles. Hardy has been responsible for more cans of corn than Del Monte so far this spring. The Rays signed Jays’ castoff Yunel Escobar to bolster their production at shortstop but Escobar has rewarded Tampa’s $5 million investment with four runs scored and a .174 batting average in 2013. The Red Sox recently demoted Jose Iglesias to make room for free agent acquisition Stephen Drew. In 42 at bats for theBoSox Drew has just five hits and 15 strikeouts.Pin It Tweet
Baseball’s Black Holes
Orioles, Yanks, Cubs & Tigers looking for answers.
Baltimore Orioles fans are all too familiar with the team’s struggles to find a reliable option at second base. Since Brian Roberts’ injury woes struck in 2010 the Orioles have trotted out the likes of Steve Tolleson, Ryan Adams, Julio Lugo, Omar Quintanilla, Ryan Flaherty and Robert Andino to second base. Roberts posted a solid spring, and decent first series in Tampa, before succumbing to another injury, his hamstring this time. Ryan Flaherty and Alexi Casilla (aka: New Robert Andino) have done their best to fill in. Their best has generally been awful. Flaherty has just seven hits in 52 at bats this season. He and Casilla have combined to strike out 24 times, while drawing just five walks, in 84 at bats. The best way to describe the Orioles second base output would be non-existent. Jonathan Schoop, a well-regarded Orioles’ prospect, has been splitting time between second base and shortstop at Triple-A this season but his .218 batting average suggests he may not be ready for big league action this summer. If Roberts fails again in his latest comeback the Orioles could be forced to seek an option from outside the organization.Pin It Tweet
Orioles Weather Rough Early Season Schedule
The Baltimore Orioles’ success in 2012 was labeled as lucky, a fluke, or unsustainable by most media outlets. The O’s are off to a great start to the 2013 season despite a grueling April schedule and a revolving door at the back end of the rotation. It’s time to recognize that Buck Showalter’s club may just be pretty damned good.
The Orioles didn’t look so lucky when the 2013 schedule was released. Baltimore started the season with nine of its first 12 games on the road, including trips to division rivals Boston, Tampa Bay, and New York. After a 10-game homestand the Birds hit the road again for an 11-game/11-day trip to Oakland, Seattle, and Anaheim. Baltimore went 7-4 on the extended West Coast swing thanks in large part to the daily heroics of Manny Machado. The Orioles are at 20-13 after defeating the Kansas City Royals last night in just their third homestand of the season. Baltimore has played a league-high 20 road games and have gone 12-8 in those contests. Showalter’s club is just 8-5 at home but will look to improve upon that record with 12 of their next 15 games to be played at Camden Yards.Pin It Tweet
AL East Bias
A hot week from the Orioles and Yankees, coupled with a three game losing streak by the Red Sox, has resulted in a three way tie atop the American League East. New York is percentage points ahead of Baltimore so we’ll start our trip around the division with the Yankees.
New York Yankees
The Yankees continue to defy the odds, and logic, as they currently have the second best record in the American League despite employing Vernon Wells in the cleanup spot. Wells was acquired from the Angels in Spring Training in an act of sheer desperation. He’s responded by hitting .294 with seven home runs and providing lineup protection for Robinson Cano.
The Yankees benefited from an early season schedule heavy on home games. New York is 12-7 at Yankee Stadium but just 8-6 on the road. The Yankees took two of three from the Rockies in Colorado this week. New York will next travel to Kansas City and Cleveland. Ivan Nova was originally scheduled to return from the disabled list to start next Monday but he walked four in four innings in his latest rehab start and doesn’t appear ready to return. Nova has a 6.48 ERA and 1.86 WHIP in four starts for the Yankees.Pin It Tweet
MLB’s 2013 Cellar Dwelling All Stars
The fan voting for MLB’s All Star game will draw to a close late next week. The most recent voting results offer few surprises. Justin Upton of the Braves currently ranks second in All Star voting for National League outfielders despite slumping badly over the past few weeks. Upton clubbed 12 homers in April but has gone yard just three times over the past two months while his average has dipped into the .240s. Despite the slump, Upton maintains a sizable lead over the more deserving Carlos Gonzalez of the Rockies. In the A.L. Nick Markakis has a slight lead over Jose Bautista for the final outfield spot while the other positions seem to be set.
The potential inclusion of Markakis has led to charges of ballot stuffing lobbed at Orioles fans. After 15 years of watching the American League All Star squads stacked with Red Sox and Yankees players it’s about time the fans of Baltimore exacted a little revenge. Markakis is having a solid season for the Orioles and remains one of the best defensive right fielders in baseball. Bautista probably deserves the spot over Markakis but his .243 average hasn’t set the world on fire and the selection of Markakis wouldn’t be a travesty.
There will inevitably be much hand-wringing and fan backlash when the All Star rosters are finalized. The required presence of a representative from both the Astros and the Marlins will only make the final selections that much more difficult.Pin It Tweet