Browsing Posts tagged Ichiro Suzuki

Lefties Andy Pettitte (9-9, 4.26 ERA) and J.A. Happ (3-3, 5.10 ERA) will square off in the second game of a three-game set. The Toronto Blue Jays spoiled Derek Jeter return, besting the Yankees 5-2 last night. Jeter, who went 0-for-3 in Monday’s return, has had some success against Happ, posting a 4 for 8 line with 1 HR.

Pettitte looks to earn his third win against the Blue Jays this season after giving up one run and three hits over six innings last week at Yankee Stadium. Pettitte has had Toronto’s number, going 6-1 with a 3.04 ERA over his last eight starts. Pettitte is 5-1 with a 2.91 ERA over his last seven starts in Toronto. Pettitte has limited right handed sluggers Edwin Encarnacion and Brett Lawrie to combined 2-for-20 over the last two seasons. Pettitte must try to limit Rajai Davis, who is 9-for-17 with a HR.

J.A. Happ is making just his fifth start since returning from a skull fracture on May 7th. Happ allowed four runs and five walks over 5 1/3 innings last week at Yankee Stadium. Ichiro Suzuki (4-for-7) has had some success against Happ while Robinson Cano (3-for-14) has struggled.

Pick: The Yankees opened as a slight favorite (-115), so they’re the pick. Pettitte has pitched well recently and has success against Encarnacion and Lawrie.

The New York Yankees (67-59), winners of four straight games, look to sweep the lowly Toronto Blue Jays (57-70) this afternoon at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees currently sit 6.5 game behind the Boston Red Sox for first place in the American League East. Luckily for the Bombers, they’ll face off against their Boston rivals seven more times before October 1st, so anything can happen.

Last night, Ichiro Suzuki collected his 4,000th career professional hit. Suzuki’s big accomplishment sparked Alfonso Soriano’s 8th inning, game winning two-run home run. Since joining the Yankees, Soriano has been one of baseball’s hottest hitters, blasting seven home runs and collecting 22 RBIs during 71 August at-bats. Soriano will hopefully bring his big bat to the ballpark today and try to help Andy Pettitte pick up his 9th victory.

The 41-year-old Pettitte has struggled this season, posting a 8-9 record with an unsightly 4.39 ERA. Pettitte brings some tough veteran leadership and success against the Blue Jays to the table. Pettitte holds a career 23-13 record against the Jays. In his last five starts, Pettitte is 3-1 with a 3.13 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, and 7.4 K/9. And lucky for Andy, he will not face Jose Bautista (hip) who had 3 HRs in 36 career plate appearances. Given Pettitte’s career success against the Blue Jay, Vegas opened the Yankees as a sizable -170 money line favorite. Look for the Yankees to ride behind their veteran southpaw and sweep away the lowly Blue Jays. 

 

 

It’s been a difficult offseason for Yankee fans. Derek Jeter broke his ankle, but should return for Spring Training. Alex Rodriguez, who is undergoing hip surgery, will miss at least half of 2013. Nick Swisher, Russell Martin, Raul Ibanez, Eric Chavez, and Andruw Jones, who combined to hit 94 home runs, signed elsewhere. Rafael Soriano, who saved 42 games, is also expected to sign elsewhere. For better or worse, the Yankees were not linked to any top free agents. The Yankee brass is committed to spending less than baseball’s $189 million luxury tax threshold by 2014, so free agent spending sprees are off the table.

Brian Cashman always emphasizes the importance of keeping his ‘core’ together, so four key pieces were re-signed to team friendly deals. Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, and Hiroki Kuroda signed one-year deals while Ichrio Suzuki signed a two-year deal. These deals should help the Yankees win in 2013, but each player is over 40-years-old and adds little value to the future of the team.

The Yankees are one of the oldest teams in baseball, but still boast some of the game’s best players. Jeter and Ichiro will set the table for Robinson Cano, Mark Teixeira, and Curtis Granderson. CC Sabathia will be supported by Kuroda, Pettitte, and Phil Hughes in the starting rotation. Mariano Rivera and David Robertson will lock down the backend of the bullpen. This core won 95 games last season, so anything less will be a failure.

While the Yankees boast a strong core, many are questioning their complementary parts. As of today, the Yankees have not named a starting catcher or designated hitter. Cashman will not sign a free agent catcher, so expect a combination of Francisco Cervelli-Chris Stewart-Austin Romine to start. Kevin Youkilis will start at third base, but he was signed as A-Rod’s caddy. The Yankees will need Youkilis to play third base and DH, but he can’t seem to stay healthy. If Youkilis suffers another injury, will the team trust Eduardo Nunez to play third base? Nunez is currently the de-facto designated hitter, but Cashman always extends multiple Spring Training invites. The Yankees have a glutton of left handed hitters in its outfield, so expect a right handed bat to join this threesome. Remember, Marcus Thames and Raul Ibanez were signed late and played significant roles. Expect similar moves.

Going into 2013, the Yankees have a very small margin for error. The roster is primarily comprised of older players that may break down. Each AL East foe improved its roster and many are expecting the Toronto Blue Jays to win the division. However, the Yankees boasted baseball’s best run differential and have a roster full of players that have endured October battles. The Yankees continue to pour resources into scouting and player development, but don’t count them out. In terms of player development and a more cost conscious approach, the 2013 season may prove to be a transition year. That doesn’t mean the Yankees are incapable of raising another AL East flag.

Days after finding out that Brett Garnder would need elbow surgery, the Yankees completed a trade for Ichiro Suzuki. To land the 38-year-old Suzuki, the Yankees dealt prospects, D.J. Mitchell and Danny Farquhar, both of whom aren’t ranked among the team’s best players. The Yankees will be responsible for roughly $2 million of Ichiro’s remaining $6 million contract. 

Make no mistake about it–Ichiro isn’t the same player that he used to be. Ichiro has posted a line of .262/.288/.353 this season which is a far cry from his career averages (.322/.366/.418). However, Ichiro has played very well on the road, posting a more respectable line of .297/.314/.402. It’s clear that Safeco Field has plagued his production, so hopefully a change of scenery will help boost his numbers. Ichiro is still a top defensive player and has a great arm, so he’ll provide depth at all outfield spots.

Last night, Ichiro started in right field, which may be a sign of things to come, but with the incumbent Nick Swisher already in place, Ichiro may start in left field. However, the Yankee left field platoon of Raul Ibanez and Andruw Jones has been excellent, so don’t expect Ichiro to earn playing time based on name value. At this stage of his career, Ichiro is no longer a top of the order, everyday player. Ichiro will provide depth at all outfield spots and will give the Yankees a talented bat at the bottom of their order. Ichiro hasn’t played in the post-season since 2001, but don’t expect any rust from the future Hall of Famer. 

In essence, Ichiro will provide some great outfield depth. With Brett Garnder sidelined, the Yankees needed a multi-dimensional outfielder that could spell all positions. Great players always have the ability to unlock their talents and perhaps Ichiro will feel re-motivated in New York. Ultimately, this move is very, very low risk for the Yankees and could pay off handsomely if ‘Road Ichiro’ shows up.