-NoMaas does a nice job breaking down the trouble with Derek, while the Flagrant Fan dissects Jorge Posada’s slow start. Personally, I’m willing to give Jorge more rope than Derek. Jorge may simply be having trouble adjusting to life as a DH, his numbers against the fastball were good as recently as last year. But Derek has looked bad pretty much ever since April of 2010, and ditching the no-stride swing mechanics so quickly gives me little hope for improvement. While I’m willing to give Jorge the benefit of the doubt, I’m not sure the Yankees will be as patient with Jorge. As DH, his only job is to hit. If he’s not hitting by June, he may very well see his playing time reduced in favor of some of the strong bats on the Yankee bench like Chavez or Jones, or if Montero keeps destroying AAA pitchers he may get the call as well. Working for Derek is the #3000 hit chase and the fact that there’s not a ready replacement for him in-house. Signing a newly minted 4 year deal argues in Derek’s favor as well, while Jorge is in the final year of his deal.
-Remember all those questions about the Rays bullpen and lineup this year? 6th in the AL in Runs scored with a bullpen ERA of 3.00.
-Absolutely wonderful interview by BP with Yankee pitching coach Larry Rothschild. It’s subs only, but I’ll give you an excerpt.
On what young pitchers often need to learn:
It takes guys a long time to understand that it’s just a matter of going out and executing the pitch at hand and being consistent with it. If you’ve got a great curveball that you throw for a strike one out of five times, it’s meaningless because the hitters at this level are going to discount it; they’re going to take it out of the equation because they know you’re not going to throw it for a strike. But if you have an average curveball that you can throw where you want, take them out of the strike zone with it, throw it for a strike, back-door it, front-door it, and you can do it four out of five times, that’s going to be successful.
This can’t be repeated often enough. We as fans too often fall in love with radar gun readings, but the ability to command and locate your pitches consistently is more important at the MLB level. Velocity may give someone a bit more margin for error, but in the big leagues mistakes get crushed whether they’re thrown at 88 or 95 MPH. He goes on to explain how he thinks its even more important for him to have a good relationship with his Catcher than it is the various pitchers, and how Sabermetrics has influenced how he does his job. Tremendous read, if you’re not a subscriber to BP this piece alone is worth the subscription cost.
-Is there a better story in Baseball right now than the Cleveland Indians? That Home winning% isn’t going to last, but it may not take much to win that division this year. The Royals are right behind them in the AL Central, and the Marlins have a 3 game lead in the NL Wild Card. You’ve got to love April baseball.
-I can’t help but wonder if Michael Pineda’s red-hot start and the record-low attendance at Safeco Field this year are making the Mariners reconsider their stance on Felix Hernandez. Upsetting your fan base is less of a concern when they’re not showing up at the ballpark anyway. The thought behind it would be they have a homegrown ace to replace him, and could make a franchise altering move by dealing him. They did so in 1998 when they traded Randy Johnson (Freddy Garcia, Carlos Guillen, John Halama) though the 2000 Ken Griffey deal (Jake Meyer (minors), Mike Cameron, Antonio Perez and Brett Tomko) yielded a much more modest return. But those were contract year deals, King Felix is under team control until 2014.
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