Friday, June 5, 2015

Will Yankees continue upswing?

The New York Yankees are coming off a three-game sweep of the Seattle Mariners, which followed losing three of four games in Oakland. The Yanks have won seven of their last 10 games after a 1-10 slide. Can the club win another series and keep pressure on the rest of the American League East?

Pitching matters


Adam Warren
Photo credit: Keith Allison via Flickr
It always comes down to pitching, doesn’t it? Of course the team needs to score runs and for the most part the club can put up numbers in bunches when they are right. At home, scoring runs should not be an issue; keeping opponents at bay could.

Nathan Eovaldi gets the start Friday and he really needs to step things up. He has potential, but he must begin to translate some of it into results on the mound. Eovaldi (4-1, 4.40 ERA, 4.07 FIP) leaves me wanting more. He’s got great fastball velocity, but because his ancillary pitches are inconsistent and his pitch location is often off, he allows a ton of hits. He owns a 1.57 WHIP and all those baserunners limit the number of innings he can throw in a given game.

In the middle game of the series, Adam Warren looks to prove the Yankees made the right call by leaving him in the rotation in lieu of Chris Capuano. Warren (3-4, 3.75 ERA, 4.48 FIP) has at most 30 days from Ivan Nova’s rehab assignment commencement to prove he should remain in the rotation again. If he falters in any way and the rest of the staff is healthy, Warren could find himself in the bullpen. That’s not necessarily a bad thing since the Yankees could use a strong righty in the pen besides Dellin Betances.

In the series finale, Michael Pineda looks to build on his last start in which he outpitched Seattle Mariners’ star Felix Hernandez. While Pineda (7-2, 3.33 ERA, 2.40 FIP) has been fantastic, he could still improve on the length he is giving the Yankees in his starts. As the team’s top one or two starters, Pineda has to go deeper in games in an effort to alleviate work for the bullpen.


Who’s behind the plate?


Brian McCann is day-to-day with a sore right foot after an MRI and a CT scan revealed no major problems according to multiple reports. The Yankees did not make any 25-man moves to bring up another catcher, so McCann might miss just a little time unless the problem persists.

Yankees' backup catcher John Ryan Murphy has had a rough go with the bat this season, but he attributes it to the number of plate appearances he’s garnered while McCann has been healthy to this point.

“It’s easy for me to make that excuse and say (this role) is new to me, I’m not playing all the time,” Murphy said to LoHud Yankees Blog’s Chad Jennings. “The hardest thing is the timing. There’s no way to simulate game speed, but that’s my role and that’s my job.”

If McCann is going to get minimal playing time this weekend and into next week this could be Murphy's shot to find his stroke. Murphy will be hard pressed to match McCann’s power stats, but he has shown in the past that his bat is MLB-ready. Let’s see if he gets going with some more reps.

The Yankees are certainly better off with McCann behind the plate, from both a defensive and offensive standpoint, but Murphy has the ability to hold his own for a few days if needed.

Notables

  • The 5/2 split of lefties to righties in bullpen – how long will it last with Brian Cashman noting he’s looking for a right-hander?
  • Chase Headley leads the team in errors (12) and strikeouts (47) – That’s not what anyone expected.
  • Can Betances continue his streak of not allowing an earned run this season? I profiled Betances for SportsNet New York this week.
Christopher Carelli is a freelance baseball writer. Besides his work here, Christopher is a featured Yankees writer for SNY.tv. His baseball commentary has also been published on Yahoo Sports and linked multiple times on MLB Trade Rumors’ Baseball Blogs Weigh In. He is a member of the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America, the Baseball Bloggers Alliance and the BYB Hub.



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