Thursday Morning Musings: 8/14/14

You know, I always say I miss having YES and access to almost every televised Yankee game out here in Wisconsin.  For the last few seasons, I've almost caved and upgraded to a real cable package with MLB Extra Innings to be able to watch more games.  Today I feel really glad that I haven't done that because I don't think I would be a very enjoyable person to be around if I had the ability to watch the last 2 season's worth of games.  Boring and bad baseball.  Not a fun combination. - I haven't put on my "bullpen decision overreacting" hat in a while, so I'm going to get a couple in from last night's game.  First, I didn't understand the move to pull Pineda.  Yes, I know he gave up a few hard-hit balls in the 5th, I know his velocity was dropping, I know he's coming back from 4 months off.  I get why the move made sense.  I also know this bullpen is completely unreliable right now and almost completely taxed from all the work it's had to do in the first 118 games.  Pineda looked like he had enough left to at least be allowed to start the 6th inning.  If he puts the first guy on, fine.  Take him out.  But if he can get you a few outs or even get through the inning, that makes it much easier to manage the final 3 innings.

- Joe made it harder for himself with that 4th inning and the simple truth is that he botched it.  Not with Betances, that was the right move.  I have no problem going to your best shutdown reliever for multiple innings when he hasn't pitched in 5 days.  But if you're going to ask him for more than that and have another guy ready in the bullpen to cover him, that guy cannot be Shawn Kelley.  Has to be D-Rob right there.  Has to be.  Regardless of what the offense is doing or not doing, a tie game in the 8th still gives you a chance to win.  Holding that tie after the Schoop HR is the most critical thing at that point and that situation calls for your best reliever, not Shawn Kelley.  If you're going to go Betances for 2 for the hold, you have to be willing to go D-Rob for 2 for the save/win.

- I know they probably want to wait for roster expansions to bring up some young, fresh arms, but the Yankees might want to reconsider waiting that long.  This bullpen is an unmitigated poopshow right now.  4.87 ERA, 4.68 FIP, 7 HR allowed in 40.1 IP in August.  It's David Robertson, Dellin Betances, Esmil Rogers if you want to squint, and nobody.  Adam Warren looks out of gas, Kelley is a coin flip, and everybody else stinks.  What is Rich Hill even doing on this team?  Get Bryan Mitchell back up and let him air it out.  Get Tyler Webb up.  Get somebody up who can get a few outs.  Are the Matt Daleys and Rich Hills of the world really worth a 40-man roster spot?

- Liked what I saw from Pineda last night.  He didn't get a lot of swings and misses (6), but his velocity was good early, he was locating both fastballs well, and he looked very comfortable handling a lineup with a lot of dangerous hitters.  Let's see if he can stay healthy and effective for the next 6 weeks and give us some reasons for optimism next year.

- That's looking like the more realistic focal point presently rather than this October.  I've been safely on the "The Yankees Are Done" train for a while, but there were some real glimmers of hope 2-3 weeks ago.  They've faded in the last handful of days.  This team doesn't play any differently than it did before the trade deadline and it has the same fatal flaws that have held it back all year.

- Stephen Drew is hitting .163/.200/.256 in 12 games.  He's been worth -0.4 fWAR.  Martin Prado is hitting .175/.233/.275 in 12 games and he's been worth -0.3 fWAR.  I liked both of the trades and I'm not going to completely write these guys off as potentially helpful pieces for next year, but the numbers don't lie,.  They haven't hit at all.

- Here are not some fun statistical facts to chew on.  From 2009 to 2012, the Yankees finished in the top 3 of MLB in HR and BB rate every year.  They were first in HR in 3 of those years and they hit more than 201 HR in all 4 seasons.  They were 1st in BB rate once and never had one lower than 9.1%.  Last year they were 22nd in HR with 144 and 16th in BB rate at 7.7%, mainly because of all the injuries and subpar replacements.  This year they rank 12th in HR with 108 and 15th in BB rate at 7.7% again.  The times they have a-changed.

- This next 9 game-stretch looked like something that could have really helped the Yankees gain ground in the Wild Card race.  3 against the Rays, 3 against the 'Stros, 3 against the White Sox.  With the way they're playing, it could be the run that takes them out of it for good.