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Tag: Jay Bruce Page 1 of 3

Thoughts ahead of today’s rubber game against Toronto

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Happy hump day, folks. The Yankees are 5-6 as of this writing, and while that’s a less than ideal start to the season, it’s important to emphasize that there are still 151 games remaining on the slate. I’m not sure what the cause is, but it feels like everyone is hyper-focused and scrutinizing each and every pitch so far unlike any season prior. Perhaps that’s because people are more focused on baseball after 2020’s general awfulness. Nonetheless, as the old saying goes: it’s a marathon, not a sprint. So with that, I have some thoughts on the Bombers thus far.

The non-Cole starters need to do better finishing at-bats. Not everyone can be Gerrit Cole, obviously, but the rest of the Yankees’ rotation has had a lot of trouble putting away hitters when they get to two strikes. We saw it last night with Jameson Taillon, namely in his second inning. He wound up plunking a batter and walking another after getting to a couple of favorable two strike counts. Unfortunately, that’s been a theme for the Yankees’ starters thus far, other than the ace of course. Some numbers to chew on:

OBPK-Rate (%)
MLB.23345.0
NYY.26552.6
NYY excl. Cole.29744.5
SP in two strike counts.
OBPK-Rate (%)
MLB.19439.9
NYY.24540.6
NYY excl. Cole.30533.3
SP ahead in the count.

Ugly, to say the least. It’s no wonder that the rotation hasn’t been able to offer much length so far this season. Can’t go deep into games if you’re unable to put away opponents in pitcher’s counts consistently. As I noted in last night’s recap, the team has gotten 5+ innings from its starters four times in eleven games. All of those came from Cole and Jordan Montgomery.

Now, it’s very early in the season and I’m not ready to hit the panic button on this rotation. A few reasons why I’m still confident:

  • Corey Kluber will not maintain a 15.2 percent walk rate. Admittedly, his command has not been good to date. But we’ve seen flashes, and his stuff looks fine. There’s still some rust to shake off here.
  • Jordan Montgomery is terrific at suppressing hard contact. I know his last start didn’t exemplify this, but I believe that was a blip. Monty owns a career hard hit rate of 31.5 percent, well below the league mark of 35.1.
  • Jameson Taillon’s stuff looks sharp. He’s dotting his fastball up in the zone and getting tons of whiffs. He had a difficult time honing his breaking balls last night, but the movement and spin on those offerings are still very good. I think we’ll see more of the performance he gave in his first outing, plus some more length as he builds up.
  • Deivi García is waiting in the wings and even though Domingo Germán had two terrible starts, I think he’s perfectly capable of being a better-than-your-typical fifth starter.
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Game 8: Bats lifeless in loss to Rays

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Another day, another disappointing loss at Tropicana Field. The place is simply a house of horrors for the Yankees over the last couple of years. Today’s score: 4-0 in favor of Tampa Bay. This game followed a fairly common theme for the team in the early going: not much offense, not great starting pitching, but an excellent bullpen performance to hang around. Let’s get to the takeaways after the jump.

Luke Voit to have knee surgery, Jay Bruce makes the team

So much for all of the debate about Jay Bruce vs. Mike Tauchman. The veteran 1B/OF has made the team, but not for the reason most folks anticipated. Instead, an injury to Luke Voit paved the way for Bruce:

Voit had an MRI yesterday that revealed the meniscus tear. This comes after the first baseman dealt with some knee trouble earlier in the month. One can’t help but wonder if this decision to tag up from second to third made matters worse:

This is a big blow to the Yankees’ lineup, but fortunately, it’s coming at the start of the season rather than the end. Voit could be back at some point in May.

Bruce will be the Yankees’ everyday first baseman for the time being. The soon-to-be 34 year-old has hit .194/.242/.419 with two homers in 33 plate appearances this spring.

To make room on the 40-man roster for Bruce, the Yankees placed Clarke Schmidt on the 60-day injured list (elbow). He suffered a common extensor tendon strain earlier in camp. Meanwhile, the Yankees also released Robinson Chirinos and Derek Dietrich from their minor league contracts.

Yankees Spring Training News & Notes: March 25th, 2021

Mike Tauchman went deep against Detroit on Tuesday. (Bryan Hoch)

Good morning. We’re just a week out from opening day, and I don’t know about you, but I’m dealing with some major spring training fatigue at this point. The games are a bit of a slog now and my lone concern is player health. Wake me up in a week, please.

In case you missed it, Bobby penned his thoughts yesterday. His last section, about the players he’s most excited to watch this year, definitely helped me snap out of my March malaise a bit. Just need to have some patience over this last week. Anyway, let’s move forward and break down the latest and greatest in the Yankees’ world:

Thoughts a Week and a Day Before Opening Day

Happy Wednesday, friends. We are rapidly approaching Opening Day, but there are still Spring Training games before then. Here is the broadcast schedule through the rest of the Grapefruit League to hold us over for the rest of the week.

Here’s hoping that the Yanks can stay healthy in that time, too. Anyway, on to today’s thoughts.

1. Opening Day Next Week: Opening Day is one week from tomorrow, which is wild. It really snuck up on me this year. Still, I am excited for the season – and you should be, too. The games are really going to matter right away. The Yankees are the hands-on favorite to win the American League East, and they’ll have a chance to emphatically make that case nearly right away: 19 of the team’s first 25 games (76%) are inter-divisional matchups.

Now, those aren’t exactly spread out evenly, either. Here is how it breaks down:

  • Baltimore Orioles: 7 games (3 at home)
  • Tampa Bay Rays:6 games (3 at home)
  • Toronto Blue Jays: 6 games (3 at home)

Notably missing is the Red Sox, so the Yanks are getting a big chunk of their non-Boston divisional rival games out of the way early. That is significant. Tampa got worse since we last saw them, but I won’t count them out. (Baseball Prospectus tags them for 86 wins; FanGraphs says 84.) Toronto, on the other hand, got better, but is dealing with a Yankee-like deluge of injuries right now. (BP has them at 84 wins; FanGraphs 88.) Both will be looking to challenge the Goliath Yankees and will have a chance to make their mark early on.

While it is a long season – and it feels nice to be able to say that again after last year’s weirdness – this still feels important. As Matt noted, there are four off-days, not counting an inevitable rainout. The good news for the Yankees is that this means they can turn to team ace Gerrit Cole more often than not.

The bottom line is that these early games are going to matter. The Yankees, barring a major surprise, will be the best team in the American League East, if not the entire league. It would be awfully nice for the team to get out to a hot start and put some distance between themselves and their closest competition right way. The schedule means they’ll have a great opportunity to do so. Let’s hope they don’t miss it.

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