The Yankees 2011 Rotation

    Tuesday, March 8, 2011, 7:04 PM [General]

    What’s going on everyone? Some of you might know my work from Watch the Gap Sports( and if you do thank you for reading my stuff here. I haven’t wrote on this blog in awhile but as of today there will be a lot more posts on here. Your comments are much appreciated on anything I may be talking about. If you don’t know me I’m Matt but most of my blogging is credited as MattPel. I write about sports usually football, baseball, UFC. I leave the basketball and hockey to the experts although I have a few things to say about the new look Knicks, but well get there eventually. I don’t know much but I know a few things about the Yankees and have devoted a lot of my time to learning about the history of that team. You’ll see that most of my blogging will revolve around them so if your a Yankee fan and like talking about the team you came to the right place. Lets get right into it.

     I’ll be the the first to admit when I make a mistake and I made one a few months ago that a lot of people did. I wrote a blog about how I thought the Yankees would look in 2011. My prediction on the rotation was Sabathia, Lee, Hughes, Burnett, Pettitte. Shows how much I know because Andy Pettitte retired(at least for now) and Cliff Lee went back to the Phillies. With those guys not in the mix The Yankees have to figure out who there 4th and 5th starters will be. Of course there is one other issue and that’s if there 3rd starter AJ Burnett, (and yes I put Phil Hughes ahead of him) will be able to rebound after a year where he went 10-15 with a 5.26 ERA.

    AJ Burnett is a very strange pitcher. I’ve said it before he’s that guy that on any night can go out and pitch a no hitter, or get shelled for 8 runs in two innings. His stuff is nasty but sometimes he just can’t control it. Last year he had all kinds of control issues and although he’s never openly admitted it, he appeared to have personal issues as well even showing up to a game at one point with a black eye. The fact of the matter is this people who are saying I don’t understand this guy just won 18 games in 2008 really haven’t done there homework. Aside from a great year on a contract year this is AJ Burnett, he’s always been a .500 pitcher with a disgusting curveball who just can’t always get himself right. He will always be the guy that threw a no hitter but walked 9 and struck out 7. He can be erratic and that isn’t going to change. With that in mind something is going to have to change because Burnett now becomes a very important part of this rotation with some question marks with the 4th and 5th starters. New pitching coach Larry Rothschild has been very committed to helping Burnett improve for 2011, and even Burnett realizes how crucial it is for him to bounce back this year. It seems like he has his mind right and has changed a few small things with his delivery, so in a perfect world you would love to see that ERA drop down and that 10-15 record look more like 15-10 or better.

    As important as it is for Burnett to do well it’s also important to fill those 4 and 5 spots with guys who are able to get the job done and keep the Yankees in the game. If you can do that this team is going to hit and undoubtably win a bunch of games. As of right now Yankees GM Brian Cashman is not making any big moves for a starting pitcher. If the two guys the Yankees coaching staff decides on can carry the team to the All Star Break there’s always going to be teams shopping some big pitchers at the break if need be. The three front runners for the two spots are Ivan Nova, Freddy Garcia, and Bartolo Colon(who somehow has pitched in the majors since 1997 and still can’t speak English). Right now it looks like Nova is the favorite in that 4th spot. Nova had some nice starts down the stretch but the knock on him was he couldn’t get through 5 innings last year. If he proves this year he can do well enough to get through say six innings, the Yankees bullpen will be able to do the rest. What stands out in my mind about him last season was he wasn’t afraid to brush back Toronto’s big slugger Jose Bautista and then stand up to him when Bautista approached the mound. You like to see that kind of toughness from a young kid.

    With Nova likely winning that fourth sport that leaves veterans Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon. I’ve always liked Garcia but he’s had a lot of injuries over the passed few years. He showed in 2010 that if he doesn’t just rely on his fastball and mixes up his pitches he can improve. The real question is can he really improve on that 12-6 record he put up last year because he’s moving into a division where guys hit a lot of home runs, being a guy who has given up a bunch of home runs in his career.  As for Bartolo Colon, whenever I hear his name the first thing that comes to mind is A-Rod hitting three home runs off him in one game in 2005. Colon who despite looking like he might have eaten the bat boy is listed on as 185 pounds. I’m really hoping that’s a typo, but regardless has a slim chance of making this team considering since winning a Cy young he’s made 47 starts in the passed six years and pitched to a 5.18 ERA. I don’t care how good he looked in winter ball, I don’t see those numbers dramatically improving.

    As of right now although all three have pitched well so far, it looks like it will be Nova and Garcia in those last two rotation spots, pending Brian Cashman having some kind of Ace up his sleeve. There are some great young pitchers in the Yankees system like Andrew Brackman, Dellin Betances, and Manny Banuelos. Although these guys may not start the season in the majors remember there names because sometime in 2011 you’ll likely see at least one of them in pinstripes at some point. Either way get excited it’s baseball season, lot’s of good stuff to come.

    3.7 (2 Ratings)

    Getting the Name right in Tampa

    Thursday, April 22, 2010, 3:29 PM [General]

    Taking a quick break from all your current Yankees and sports news, I recently received a email from a loyal reader who for now well call Bobby J(or Bobby Dimes to some).
    Bobby J writes:

    “I’ve been a Yankee fan for almost 50 years, growing up in the 60’s I suffered with 15 years of futility while the “Bombers” were real bombs. I welcomed with open arms that brash new owner, the man, who even then, was bigger than life Mr. George M. Steinbrenner.

    Love him or hate him, you knew right away that he had one goal in mind, and it was the same goal every diehard Yankee fan was waiting for, TO WIN! So even through my disagreements with the way he handled Billy Martin & Yogi Berra, and how he admired Reggie over Thurman, I knew in the end he was the right man for the job, and history has proven that. There is no owner in all of professional sports that has done more for his team, or the city it plays in, than Mr. Steinbrenner. So it is with the utmost respect that I plead to the Steinbrenner family to bring back the name Legends Field to your Tampa facility. 

    It is so rare, in any genre, music, sports or entertainment, where a name stands alone and depicts all the history and all the emotion, that the name Legends Field employs. Revert back please to the name that says it all! Alternatives can be Steinbrenner’s Legends Field, or Legends Field at Steinbrenner Park, but the phrase Legends Field should remain.”

    I’m glad this came my way because I also feel very strongly about The Yankees Tampa facility. I think that Legends Field is one of the best names I’ve heard for a stadium. If anyone should have a field named Legends field it’s The Yankees. The Yankees have had so many extraordinary players, all star caliber players, it was fitting to have a field with that name.

    I don’t want to take anything away from “The Boss” either. He truly is the greatest owner in sports. He does whatever he can to help this team win, and you have to respect and appreciate that. He is a huge part of all the championships the Yankees have won in the passed 20 plus years. He has also gone above and beyond to help both communities in the Bronx as well as Tampa, reaching out to help people who were a lot less fortunate than himself. He’s had the attitude of Lead, Follow, or get the hell out of the way, and that mindset has helped him become one of the most successful owner in sports. With that in mind I think it’s great to show appreciation for him by naming the Yankees Tampa complex after him, but I agree with Bobby J here why not incorporate the two names together. I think Steinbrenner’s Legends Field would fit very nicely. Talk to me, what do you guys think?

    0 (0 Ratings)

    Hughes and Joba Where They Belong

    Thursday, April 22, 2010, 3:27 PM [General]

    The Yankees beat Oakland last night/early this morning 3-1 and Phil Hughes was in a word, dominant. I’ve had the privilege of seeing him pitch in several games, and this is the best I can ever remember him being. He was incredible tonight, leaving the Oakland offense baffled. Hughes was so good that he carried a no hitter into the eighth.

    Phil was outstanding and really exciting to watch last night. You can’t ask for more from your 5th starter. 7.1 IP, 1 H, 1R, 1ER, 2BB, 10 SO, 101 pitches. That puts Hughes at 2-0 with a 2.19 ERA. I think I’ll take that from my 5th starter any day. Tonight showed just how great he can be. Ace type stuff if you ask me.  On the other end Joba Chamberlain has emerged as the setup man as most Yankee fans knew he would, despite Girardi saying the spot was open for competition. Joba has been electric out of the pen. He came in two nights ago with bases loaded and got out of a jam, and although he gave up a hit for an unearned run tonight, he looked outstanding once again. Chamberlain currently has a 2.16 ERA and continues to be dominant like his friend Hughes, being the major part of the bridge to Mariano.

    Personally this is what I’ve hoped for all along. I think this is exactly where both of these guys are at they’re best. I know there’s some fans who still believe Joba will eventually be a starter along with Hughes but personally I just don’t see it. I think Hughes showed tonight exactly how great of a starter he can be, and I’m by no means comparing Joba to Mariano, but I think Joba has the stuff as well as the mindset to be a great closer once Mariano decides to hang it up. Only time will tell but I think both of these guys will emerge into there respected roles this year. If you ask me this is exactly where they both belong.

    On a side note Joe Girardi only touched on it briefly but can you imagine if Hughes took that no hitter into the 9th inning and had a high pitch count. It would have been the CC Sabathia situation all over again. If Hughes pitch count was too high would Girardi really have taken him out of the game? I understand Girardi’s mentality, but just like with CC, it would have been a hard decision to make.

    0 (0 Ratings)

    Give Vazquez Some Time

    Friday, April 16, 2010, 5:03 PM [General]

    I was sitting in right field yesterday for the Yankees 5-3 loss to the Angels, and no I was not one of the people booing. I’m  not going to sit here and defend or criticize those people. You pay for a ticket then you have the right to cheer or boo if you want to. Personally I’ve never been one to boo people from my own team, ever. I’ve watched guys like Mike Mussina, Jason Giambi, A-Rod even Derek Jeter struggle and have never once thought to boo them. When your a fan of a team your supposed to support those players no matter what, as difficult as that may be sometimes. As I’ve explained to my colleagues here at WTGS these are the same fans that booed Mickey Mantle, believe me they’ll boo Javier Vazquez if they want to.

    The problem right now is this isn’t a new player coming in fresh. All Yankee fans have Vazquez awful second half in 2004, as well as a terrible ALCS Game 7 on their minds. With his early struggles it’s easy to understand why the boo’s have all ready begun. Yankee fans are looking for Javi to prove a point, and he hasn’t done that yet. Is Vasquez struggling right now, absolutely but I think we need to give him some time to work through this. Was he great yesterday, of course not but he was defiantly improved from his first start. Javi needs to be sharper his next start, and make sure his pitches are not up in the zone like they were yesterday.  He did a good job keeping former Yankee and now Angels cleanup hitter Hideki Matsui in check which impressed me, and giving up three runs in 5.1 isn’t terrible. On a normal day the Yankees are going to score more runs then that, it just so happened that Joel Pineiro was outstanding yesterday.

    All you Yankee fans booing yesterday I understand where you’re coming from, but the season is young and there’s still a lot of games to be played. Let’s give Vazquez a few more starts before we send him packing. I watched him pitch last year and I think he has the potential to do very well on this team. If you ask me with the help of pitching coach Dave Eiland, well see the same Vazquez we saw last year.

    0 (0 Ratings)

    Some Things Never Get Old

    Friday, April 16, 2010, 5:01 PM [General]

    The Yankees opened up The Stadium today with a 7-5 win over the Angels. More exciting was that before the game they received their 2009 World Series Championship rings. You would think that for guys like Jeter, Posada, Rivera and Pettitte this kind of thing would be old news by now, this being their 5th ring, but those four along with the  rest of the Yankees were all thrilled to receive their championship rings today. The Yanks, who always do things with such class and  in a professional manner had Yankee legends Yogi Berra and Whitey Ford on hand to help pass out the team’s World Series rings.  

    A few quick thoughts from the ceremony. There was a great energy in the stadium and you could see how thrilled all the players were to be getting their rings. These guys work so hard, and it’s not easy winning a World Series, you have to have a lot of things go your way,  along with some great play, and  that helped the Yankees bring home their 27th title. It was definitely a real rewarding experience for everyone on the Yankees today to receive their rings, and it was clear just how excited everyone was.

    It’s been said a few times but I was glad A-Rod had the success he did in the World Series and get that “gorilla” as he called it off his back, with clutch hits throughout the playoffs. Today was the icing on the cake for A-Rod if you will, receiving his first World Series ring. I know I shouldn’t feel happy for a guy who makes as much money as he does, but he will eventually go down as one of the greatest players in the game, so it was great to see him win a championship.

    Two other things stood out in my mind today. Gene Monahan has not been with the team this year as he continues his battle with cancer. Monahan has been with the Yankees since 1962 and has been the Yankees trainer for the past 38 years. Monahan made it to Yankee Stadium today to receive his ring, receiving an outstanding ovation from the Yankee Stadium crowd. It was great to hear him get such a nice hand, and he showed his appreciation with tears in his eyes. It was also perfect timing with the Angels in town for Hideki Matsui to receive his championship ring. Yankee fans gave the World Series MVP a great hand, showing there appreciation for their former designated hitter. On top of that the Yankee players themselves charged Matsui before he could walk off the field to hug and joke around with him. Speaking of jokes, a small joke was played on Matsui and Swisher as their rings were switched with the cheap plastic rings that were being given out at the gates at the stadium today. Swisher noticed while comparing his ring to the others and then received his ring from Mariano Rivera, and Matsui had no idea until Girardi gave him his real ring during opening lineups. A little joke on Swisher and their former teammate.

    All around a great day for The Yankee team, as well as a great start by Pettitte, and a save by Mariano Rivera (After a Grand Slam given up by Robertson that we won’t get into).  Just another day in Yankee Universe. Some things really do never get old.


    0 (0 Ratings)

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  • What’s going on everyone? Some of you might know my work from Watch the Gap Sports( and if you do thank ... more
  • Taking a quick break from all your current Yankees and sports news, I recently received a email from a loyal reader who for now well ... more
  • The Yankees beat Oakland last night/early this morning 3-1 and Phil Hughes was in a word, dominant. I’ve had the privilege of ... more
  • I was sitting in right field yesterday for the Yankees 5-3 loss to the Angels, and no I was not one of the people booing. ... more

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