Thursday, May 30, 2013

Sending Out An SOS: Yankees Need the Cavalry

Teams lose to other teams. Some of those other teams might not be as good as the losing team. It happens - well Suzyn, you can't predict baseball, etc.  The Yankees lost four straight to the Mets after Thursday night's 3-1 debacle (at least the game was quick) and have dropped five straight overall as they head into a much more important series with the Boston Red Sox this weekend.

Vidal Nuno pitched beautifully for six innings, but allowed a 2-run home run to Marlon Byrd in the early going. That's about one or two runs more than the Yankees can handle these days. The bats are coming back to Earth, which means the Friday arrival of Mark Teixeira and Kevin Youkilis is coming just in the nick of time.

The Mets starter for Thursday night was Dillon Gee. The 27-year old Texan had made 10 starts this season prior to the finale with the Yankees. In those 10 games, Gee allowed less than three earned runs just three times and recorded an out in the 7th inning just once. So tonight Gee and his 6.34 ERA threw 7.1 innings and struck out 12 Yankees. His season high had been six strikeouts, which he accomplished twice. The only blemish on his stat line was a solo home run served up to Robinson Cano.

The Yankees hitting a brick wall was not unexpected; it's about the only thing they can hit right now. There were signs of this earlier in the season, but the lineup bounced back. Not so in the series with their crosstown rivals. So Brian Cashman has some decisions to finalize tonight. With two everyday players returning, room needs to be made on the 25-man roster, and for Teixeira, on the 40-man roster as well.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, Cashman was quite frank when he spoke Tuesday to ESPN radio's Don LaGreca concerning the future of first baseman Lyle Overbay. Though the 36-year old has done a marvelous job (The YES Network showed a graphic prior to tonight's game that showed Overbay's numbers after 50 games were very similar to Teixeira's first 50 games in 2012.), his position limitation does not make him an ideal candidate for the everyday roster. Things are even more complicated when you consider Travis Hafner cannot play a position at all.

Letting Overbay go with no return would be a terrible mistake (he certainly would not pass through waivers without being claimed), but he's the logical choice to be removed from the roster.

The second player is likely to be David Adams who has been seeing most of the playing time at third base since he was recalled from Triple-A on May 15. Despite the organization's love of his bat, Adams should be sent back to Scranton to play every day.  Another less likely option would be to get rid of recently acquired Reid Brignac, but the Yankees don't have another infielder besides Jayson Nix that can handle shortstop.

The Yankees also announced that Andy Pettitte would be returning to start Monday's game against Cleveland. Thursday's starter Vidal Nuno would be the logical choice to go back to Scranton.

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