Thursday, August 17, 2017

CHAPMAN'S SITTING, BUT JOE AIN'T LISTENING

Source: Al Bello/Getty Images North America
Less than 24 hours after Joe doubled down on his obsessive refusal to concede he had a Cuban Missile crisis imperiling winnable games and a Yankee run at the postseason,  he finally pulled his launch key from Silo #1 and stood down Aroldis Chapman in favor of prodigal son David Robertson.

And the result was yet another gritty team comeback against the Mets -- this time  without any undue drama or risk from the final Yankee pitcher in the game.

Photo: Getty Images
It was sweet relief for everyone from @dougstro (h/t for the silo thing!) and I, most of us here at BYB, and many, many other Yankee fans who had been screaming for the move as we all watched in horror while Chappy seemingly deteriorated in agony before our eyes.

Chapman's final three appearances over a positively terrifying 3.1 innings apparently proved to be the back-breaker for our slow-to-get-it skipper, although you'll never get him to admit it. Five runs. Four walks. Two dingers. A hit batter. One save blown and two more narrowly averted by a couple of highlight reel defensive plays (h/t to Hicks and Sir Didi) and some all-too-rare nick of time type offense that would be folly to expect on a regular basis.

Photo: Getty Images
That Joe waited to make the change at closer under the cover of a minute twinge in Chapman's hammy the closer himself admitted was incurred only after bending over in disgust following his second gopher ball in as many nights and was gone by morning with no tests or examinations or any kind ordered or performed was typical of the  opaque and reactive style of managing Joe employs that endangers Yankee scoreboards and players alike.

At its heart is a binder approach to everything where how things look, sadly, take a back seat to how things work; including press and personnel management;  where phantom injuries are used as transparently phony excuses to bench, option and even deal players while real ones  all-too-often go undiagnosed, untreated and exacerbated.

Photo: Bill Kostroun
Joe declared repeatedly how he was the team's closer and how he was comfortable and had a ton of confidence with the way he was pitching, even going so far as to pull out his tired old tactic of saying he looked his best  on the days he was at his worst -- give or take a tiny little mistake here and there, of course.

But despite  all that talk of loyalty and comfort and confidence and compliments, tell me, Joe: With $86 million and a sizable chunk of the team's future invested in those hammies, how could you not   ask him to hop up on the team trainer's table for a quick 60-second look-see when he said he felt something right then and there?

Fact is, after the game Joe hadn't even talked with him or even knew which leg it was that was bothering him. No exam or procedure of any kind was ordered. because that wouldn't look good. That,  or else it what it might reveal could force Joe to make a decision about not using him. Joe doesn't like being forced into making a decision.

 "I still really believe in him,” Girardi said at the presser. “There’s other guys in that bullpen that have had tough times this year and we didn’t abandon them."

That's true, Joe. The ones that are still here weren't abandoned. Thanks to Pete Caldera of the Bergen Record for that!

Photo: Paul J. Bereswill
But it's an interesting word for him to be using when there's so many successful former pinstripers around the league who would probably say different. Heck, Joe, you just threw Monty aside like a used snot rag until CC pulled up lame, and he wasn't even having that tough a time. Maybe you should look up the word abandoned. Deserted and cast off are a couple of definitions. You might want to keep that in mind going forward because  I have a feeling you're going to be learning the meaning of the word in a very personal way soon.

The fact is that moving relievers up or down in a bullpen order based on current performance to best meet the fluid dynamics of a game is the essence of bullpen management; not rigidly adhering to a pre-set schedule in a binder like it's a lineup card of position players locked into a batting order submitted to the umpire.

Photo: SI.com
And the closer role is by definition the reliever who can end the game the quickest and cleanest with the least amount of risk or drama. Mo had to wait years to do it because a better guy than him was ahead of him. So did DRob and when he got the chance he stepped up big time -- so big, in fact, that the Yankees had to let him walk because of the money and years he was able to command in free agency.

If the job was called scheduler I'd be you biggest fan, Joe. But it's called managing for a reason.


Brendan Kuty at NJ.com explained it succinctly enough. "Spell out to whoever takes over for Chapman that when he corrects himself, he gets the job back. Robertson and Betances have had no problem taking lower-profile roles in deference to Chapman. That won’t stop when Chapman is Chapman again. And they can give Chapman the job back whenever. Maybe as soon as he’s ready. Or maybe once he’s proven himself over the course of a few outings. Girardi said he’d be a little worried about Chapman pitching in something other than a closer role because he’s never done it before. But, at this point, trying doesn’t sound like a bad alternative."

Photo: ESPN
In my last BYB article I stressed that  "it seems ridiculous for Joe to not at least consider juggling the order of the pages in his binder a little bit to give Chappy some lower leverage innings."

Nobody's advocating abandoning Chappy, Joe. Just move him down in the order a couple of innings for awhile until he gets his mojo back.

That's not abandoning him. It's just the opposite. That's nurturing and supporting him, helping him get his confidence back while protecting the rest of the team from meltdowns in the high-leverage ninth inning where every run is priceless and every base runner is a threat to end the game and shorten the season.


I also wrote that the way the Cubs abused Chappy from the first day they got him until the last game of the Series and the disruption it created for his off season throwing program coupled with his extended stay on the disabled list earlier this season all conspired to bring on this regression and nobody should blame him for his current struggles.

“It has been a difficult year for me,” Chapman said.  “I’m going through a rough patch here but you have to keep fighting and trying to go out there and do your job. “I’m here to pitch. My job is to be ready to pitch every day. As far as where I pitch, that’s not up to me. If at some point they need to remove me from the closer position, I’m always going to be ready and willing to pitch here.”

Hear that, Joe? That's the sound of a warrior bleeding Yankee blue who will do anything in any role to help this team win.

Nobody doubts your readiness, willingness or abilities, Chappy. Just shake it off and give DRob and DTrain a chance to close the lights for a spell.

Photo: NJ.com
And don't worry about that "as far as where I pitch" part, mi amigo. You're the closer for the next Evil Empire. You're just on a break.

Joe's the only one who needs to be concerned about abandonment issues.




--Barry Millman
BYB Writer
Follow me on Twitter: @nyyankeefanfore




Wednesday, August 16, 2017

THE CHAPMAN PROBLEM

Photo: Getty Images
I guess here's another statement I could make too... Is there a Chapman problem? Or is the guy in a rut, just like a hitter would be?  We call that a slump... or maybe he's hurt... who knows.  I do know this... I won't give up on Aroldis Chapman, and for me personally... He's my closer.  You may disagree, and I get it, but for the love of God, he was once one of the most dominant closers in the game.  He's not 50, he's only 29.  Let him work it out. It's a thing he's going through.

From a fan perspective.... there's this:
Love this guy. 

And BYB writer Mike O'Hara tweeted this:

Now I don't like to use the word 'Garbage' with any player.  If they were good enough to get the Pros and stay there, that's not garbage... it takes confidence and balls. Is Chapman overpaid? Yup.  100%... and he's a chump.



Don't worry though, O'Hara and I will duke it out in the streets of the Bronx and settle this... then we'll grab a brew. Because that's what real men do.

Pete Caldera of the Bergen Record wrote this of Chapman:

"In the moments after Aroldis Chapman’s latest shaky performance, Yankees manager Joe Girardi basically reserved the right to temporarily take him out of the closer’s role.

'I rethink everything every day, but it’s quite quick after the game,’ Girardi said after Chapman served up a two-run homer to Amed Rosario before 'saving’ the Yankees 5-4 win against the Mets on Tuesday night. 'I haven’t really thought about it.’

Well, Chapman might just be temporarily removed as closer since he’s a candidate to land on the 10-day disabled list, after reporting hamstring tightness. No tests were scheduled as yet, but Girardi mentioned the fears associated with leg issues to a pitcher.

'I’m not even sure which leg,’ Girardi said, though there’s risk associated with both the landing leg and the push-off leg. 'Because you worry about him overcompensating somewhere else and hurting his arm.’"


Photo: Getty Images
And here's the thing, if it is an injury, sure, he goes to the DL and someone else gets a shot, I pick Dellin or DRob, no question.  But in the end, when he returns (if it's an injury), Chapman needs to stay as our closer.

I know many of you don't agree.  But you see this stuff all the time. Here's the difference, because it's so important to Yankee fans with the Red Sox in first, it looks like we're failing, but we're winning, he's just going through a thing.  Everyone relax...
Especially this guy...

Hey, I'm following you @JoezMcfLy. Follow me back!





Tuesday, August 15, 2017

CESSA. OUT. RIBS.

Dammit, I love food.


Yeah, in case you can't figure out the puzzle, Luis Cessa is out.  He has a rib injury.

ESPN has this:

" New York Yankees placed right-hander Luis Cessa on the 10-day disabled list Tuesday with a ribcage injury.

(Aug. 13, 2017 - Source: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images North America)     
Cessa allowed five hits in 4⅓ innings against the Mets on Monday night and reached 99 mph with his fastball. The right-hander left after two visits to the mound from a trainer, stretching his arm. He had discomfort behind his pitching shoulder and had been scheduled for an MRI on Tuesday.

Cessa was recalled from Triple-A Scranton to start because Masahiro Tanaka is sidelined with right shoulder inflammation."

Can't catch a freaking break, can we?

I'm going to dinner tonight. Guess what I'm ordering?


CHAD GREEN HAS BEEN SENSATIONAL!

Source: Mike Stobe/Getty Images North America

Ranking third among American League relievers, Chad Green has been nothing short of sensational this season. The Yankee long reliever has a good head on his shoulders too, as he paces himself, focusing on one game at a time.  He has flown under the radar, but perhaps that's what makes him so special...he comes in and quietly gets it done.

Source: Michael Hickey/Getty Images North America

According Jack Curry via the YES Network's Post Game Show last night, batters are hitting under .150 against Green as he quietly has built a very effective 1.95 ERA.  It's simple according to Chad Green, who humbly said to Meredith Marakovits after last night's 4-2 win against the New York Mets, "Try to learn. Build a routine. Take advice from my teammates. Come out aggressive."

 Source: Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images North America

In a season filled with ups and downs, particularly in the bull pen, it is a relief to set eyes on Green, who has 2-0 record, 74 strikeouts with over 50 innings pitched this season.  I feel a sense of consistently when he enters the game.  Perhaps he will take on a starting role sometime in the future, but for now, he has been effective in his role as a long reliever.

Source: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images North America

As the Red Sox fall to Cleveland, we gained a game back in the hunt for first place.  All smiles at the Stadium last night and hoping for continued success as Rivalry Week Continues with the Mets, the Mets and then out to Fenway for more fun with the Sox.  Buckle up folks, it is going to be a wild ride.



--Suzie Pinstripe
BYB Managing Editor
Follow me on Twitter: @suzieprof





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Monday, August 14, 2017

BURN THAT BINDER & FIRE THE MISSILE, JOE!

"Chappy was really good in the 9th. He only made one mistake... He’s my closer.’’
--Joe Girardi after latest Cuban missile crisis blew up in his face.


The problem is the margin for error is different for a closer than it is for any other reliever or a starter. That's why they get the big bucks. And this season our closer Aroldis "The Missile" Chapman has been making way too many for anyone not to cringe when he steps on the field to try converting an alleged "save" opportunity.

Photo: Getty Images
If not for a highlight reel catch-throw-and-tag double play pulled off by Hicks and Frazier Friday saving his bacon, the Missile would have  another blown save weighing down his nosediving stats and very likely the full blame for two-thirds  of a series sweep to Boston hanging around his neck.

As it stands, he put his monogram all over the blown series finale on Sunday when he coughed up the game-tying dinger in the 9th on Sunday to a lefty -- for just the second time in his career -- and then proceeded to plunk Boston's lead off batter in the 10th on an 0-2 pitch -- who happened to be the ninth batter in the Red Sox lineup.

Photo: Getty Images
Then he put him in scoring position by throwing four balls in five pitches to ex-Yank Eduardo Nunez  -- whose walk rate ranks 9th worst  of 157 qualified hitters. And with no outs and the meat of the Boston order coming up, Joe did what he does best -- allow the arsonist to flee the scene of the fire and brag to the burned-out neighbors afterward how he conserved the water in their hoses.

According to the Daily News, "Girardi pulled him for Tommy Kahnle at that point, but insisted it was only because he’d thrown 26 pitches and didn’t want to push him too far. 'I don’t think Chappy gets rattled,' Girardi said. He sure didn’t look the same after hitting Bradley, but in any case, the wildness wound up costing the Yankees the game when Kahnle gave up a go-ahead single to Andrew Benintendi."

Photo: Getty Images
There are are now nine Yankees who have pitched in relief this season with lower ERAs than Chapman's 3.43.

But it gets worse. The higher-leverage the situation, the higher  Chapman's ERA skyrockets. In the ninth inning and later, its 3.62. In the ninth inning alone, it's 4.00.  In scoring position with two outs, it's 5.79. In scoring position with less than two outs, it's 8.25.

Photo: Getty Images
He's one blown save shy of equalling his career high of 5 which he reached twice with the Reds in seasons he registered more than twice as many saves as the 15 he's currently rung up for the Yankees, and his WHIP and K rate are hovering near their career high and low, respectively.

You can't blame him. He still reaches back like a warrior giving his all to find that 104 mph heat. But more often than not it's wild or straight as an arrow when he does, and more often than not he winds up in extended counts and elongated innings and suddenly he's sitting around 100, which for him is a quite a drop.  He was rode hard and put away late by the Cubs before he returned to the Yankees, he was on the DL for a month and his stuff simply hasn't been the same before and especially since.

Photo: Getty Images
Next year, back on a regular schedule and throwing program after a nice long winter and spring to recuperate, hopefully he'll get it all back. But this season, he's just not all that as a closer. And with DRob, Dellin and TKay doing better -- along with, not to mention, a handful of other arms in the pen -- it seems ridiculous for Joe to not at least consider juggling the order of the pages in his binder a little bit to give Chappy some lower leverage innings or, perhaps, at least consider giving him a quicker hook when he struggles.

Because as absurd as it sounds, on a team sporting a binder full of closers we've got trouble in the closer spot.

But we've got much bigger trouble if our manager can't admit recognize it's a trouble spot; that time isn't on his side, and that he has all the means any manager could ever ask for at hand to fix it immediately.

Photo: Getty Images
Burn your damn binder, Joe, and use common sense for a change. Brian and Hal didn't load up your pen with closers because they make nice middle relievers. Use 'em or lose 'em and give Aroldis a break.

Personally, I'd start by giving that guy with the old-school high socks first crack.






--Barry Millman
BYB Writer
Follow me on Twitter: @nyyankeefanfore





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