Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Yanks Beat Sox, Gardner Beats Melky, And The Opening Day Lineup Takes Shape

I was really looking forward to watching last night's Yankees/Sox game but life had something else in store for me. My wife and I are trying to consolidate space in our house since we have a new bundle of joy coming in about a month so I bought a laptop at the local Best Buy. I caught bits and pieces of the first few innings on the radio as I drove back and forth from the store. Secondly, our son is sick with a nasty cold so taking care of him took me away from the game at times, but I caught most of it and saw what I wanted to see.

A.J. Burnett looked pretty good. His velocity was great. He was still maintaining it late into the game which shows me his arm strength is there. His control wasn't perfect, but very rarely is it. He pitched extremely well and I think he's going to do great things this year. Now granted, he was facing a lineup primarily made up of minor leaguers. A.J. should be able to shut them down. Perhaps his outing would have been a little worse had it been the Opening Day Sox lineup, but I think his stuff was there, so it wouldn't have been much worse.

Mariano Rivera again looked great. It was his 4th outing of the spring and it was his 4th scoreless inning. He threw more pitches than he has previously, and I wonder if that had more to do with him wanting to get his work in during a game and not a bullpen session. Mo has always had great control. He threw more balls than normal yesterday and again I think that had more to do with him missing on purpose than anything else. He wasn't exactly missing his spots. It definitely doesn't look like Mo is being bothered at all by his shoulder surgery. He looks 100% and I wouldn't be surprised if he has a better year than he did last year.

The lineup yesterday is most likely going to be the Opening Day lineup. If I were Girardi, it's the lineup I'd put on the field. Maybe not in that exact order, but that's the 9 I'd roll with. The only change I might make is swapping Nady (hit 7th yesterday) and Cano (hit 6th yesterday). It would break up having 2 righties back to back in the order (Nady batting 7th, Ransom batting 8th) and the lineup would then go: Damon (lefty), Jeter (righty), Teixeira (switch), Matsui (lefty), Posada (switch), Nady (righty), Cano (lefty), Ransom (righty), Gardner (lefty). Except for having 2 lefties hitting back-to-back in Gardner and Damon, it flip-flops between lefties and righties pretty well. That would definitely be an advantage late in the game when the opposing team's manager has to bring in his RPs. It works for me. Anybody else have suggestions about the lineup?

The offense didn't exactly tear the cover off the ball yesterday. That's a small concern. It would be larger if the pitcher was anyone other than Tim Wakefield. Wake has always given the team fits and the knuckleball isn't exactly the easiest pitch to hit. Gardner's triple off him in the 6th lead to the only run they scored off him. Gardner is continuing to have a monster spring. His .409 average (in 44 ABs) is the highest on the team, excluding anyone with less than 13 ABs. His .750 slugging percentage is the highest on the team, excluding anyone with less than 9 ABs. His .439 on base percentage is highest on the team, excluding anyone with less than 26 ABs. John Rodriguez has a .480 OBP in 20 ABs and Eduardo Nunez has an OBP of .484 in 26 ABs. The starting CF job is really between Gardner and Melky Cabrera. Melky isn't exactly having a bad spring. He's hitting .295 with an OBP of .392 and a slugging percentage of .409 in 44 ABs. Editor's note: These stats are taken from MLB.com and I don't think they include yesterday's game. But Gardner has definitely earned the job in my opinion. From what I've seen this spring, he's my guy for the starting CF. The only problem with that is that Melky is out of options. So he either makes the team or he's likely gone. Melky is nothing more, and won't ever be anything more than a 4th or 5th OF for the Yankees. I don't see him bouncing back and having a respectable year. If I'm Cashman, I look to deal him. There's got to be somebody out there who'll take him, right?

The Yankees are off today so there probably won't be much to discuss today. Who knows? Maybe a story will break today that A-Rod is the father of some illegitimate kids or something. If he's as big of a horn dog as I think he is, I wouldn't be surprised if a paternity suit is in his future. Nothing surprises me anymore when it comes to Alex. You know how some companies will have a sign that says something like, "This workplace has been accident free in XX days." I think the Yankees' clubhouse needs something like that. "There have been no scandalous A-Rod stories in XX days." I wonder if that would ever reach triple digits?

Peace, love and Pinstripes,

J-Boogie

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