Archive for the ‘New York Yankees’ Category

MLB: Chicago Cubs at New York Yankees

The Yankees shut out the Chicago Cubs Tuesday behind a dominant pitching performance. Check that: the Yankees shutout the Cubs twice on Tuesday behind two dominant pitching performances. Yankees starters combined for 13 strikeouts and two walks over 14 innings behind a nice start from Michael Pineda and an incredible outing from Masahiro Tanaka.

If faced with the prospect of digging in against pitchers of this calibre in a doubleheader, former Cubs great Ernie Banks might not be so enthusiastic about playing twice in one day.

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MLB: Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees

Write out a list of the best outfielders of the past 30 years. How many names do you scribble down before you get to Carlos Beltran? In all likelihood, most of those players haven’t produced more than Beltran has since the turn of the century. In the expansion era, very few outfielders have put up numbers like Beltran. Among center fielders, the list shrinks even more.

Carlos Beltran is one of the most talented baseball players in recent memory, a true five-tool all star putting the finishing touches on a brilliant career. At 36, Beltran might not be the power/speed wunderkind that from his days in New York and Kansas City, but he’s still hitting.

He keeps hitting as his body changes and his role transitions to one suitable for his current skill set. I spoke with Carlos Beltran about reintegrating himself into the American League and the adjustments of 21st century baseball.

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MLB: Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees

Michael Pineda of the New York Yankees pitched very well last night, contributing six innings and seven strikeouts to a 4-1 win over the world champion Red Sox. For the first four innings or so, he pitched with something stuck to his right hand. Something that didn’t belong there. Something that looked an awful lot like pine tar.

Pine tar has its uses, but when we see it on the pitching hand of a big league starter, it’s hard to think of a viable application for the product in a “game action” context. Why would a big league pitcher need pine tar, on his throwing arm, on the hill? Gripping the baseball is important, thus the presence of a rosin bag on every mound in baseball. But pine tar? For no reason outside conventional wisdom, pine tar has a more sinister connotation.

With a dozen HD cameras pointed at each and every baseball game, stuff like this doesn’t elude the unblinking eye for long. Broadcast picks up “evidence”, viewers (and announcers, typically) freak out, player is a cheater and reviled by the rival supporters. The team on the receiving end of these clearly doctored baseballs? They don’t make a big deal about it.

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Yankees Jeter turns a double play over Blue Jays Reyes during their MLB baseball game in Toronto

This isn’t news. Derek Jeter‘s defense has long been a flashpoint. There is no right answer to the “is Derek Jeter a good defender” question but there is a wrong answer: “it won’t matter to the Yankees.”

It will matter to the Yankees. It already matters to the 2014 Yankees.

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MLB: New York Yankees at Toronto Blue Jays

Mashiro Tanaka made his highly-anticipated debut tonight for the New York Yankees, starting against the Blue Jays in Toronto’s home opener. With a throng of Japanese media on hand on top of the typically large New York contingent and a sold-out crowd, it was the perfect storm.

#TANAK did not disappoint under the watchful eyes of the Yankees “universe.” His final line looks great (7IP, 6 hits, 3 runs, 8 strikeouts, 0 walks) but failed to capture how truly in control Tanaka appeared for most of the game.

The Jays poked and slapped their share of singles through the Yankees’ infield in the early going but Tanaka really settled in after the second inning and mowed down the Blue Jays for the next five frames, only failing to retire Edwin Encarnacion (one of the AL’s premier sluggers, it should be noted.)

What did we learn about Masahiro Tanaka tonight? Splitters. There will be lots and lots of splitters. As far as the eye can see, splitters on splitters on splitters.

There will be splitters because the splitter is an insane pitch for Tanaka, especially against hitters seeing him for the first time.According to Brooks Baseball, Tanaka threw 24 total splitters, 10 of which the Blue Jays swung through and four others that went for hits.

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MLB: Spring Training-Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees

Yesterday was just another Spring Training day. Yankees starter Michael Pineda faced off against the Red Sox in just another Spring Training start at Steinbrenner Field. The stakes were very low, as per spring tradition. The lineup the Red Sox sent wasn’t exactly representative of the Sox at their full power, but it was hardly a “bee” lineup. Eh? Eh? Bee?

At any rate, Michael Pineda‘s outing against the Red Sox went very, very well. Pineda had his slider working as he registered five strikeouts in just under five innings pitched, reaching his 60 pitch limit without too much in the way of stress as the Sox scratched out just four hits.

It got the minds of Yankee fans racing. With a rotation of CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, Masahario Tanaka, and Ivan Nova, Pineda is one of several pitchers competing for the fifth starter job but, if he keeps pitching like this, it won’t be much of competition. Michael Pineda is healthy and well so the Yanks are set, right?

Right. If only it were so simple.

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MLB: New York Yankees-Workout

In some ways, the Yankees signing of Brian McCann is already old news. Swept aside after the Yankees kept grabbing assets, signing Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran, and of course Masahiro Tanaka before they were finished shopping.

Ellsbury was a key member of the World Series champions. Tanaka was the crown jewel of the 2013 off-season. Carlos Beltran is a likely Hall of Famer perfectly suited to the ballpark and role the Yankees ask of him. But of this clutch of new players, it is Brian McCann who might provide the greatest bump to Yankee fortunes.

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