They’re playing great baseball and everything, but the Yankees have to be worried about their health at some point, no? Three of the core four, as all the cool kids are calling them, have gone down: Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada and now Andy Pettitte, all sidelined with injuries. Now those cool kids are calling them the “sore four.” Wait, that’s not cool. That’s kind of lame.
But the point is taken: three-fourths of the crew that are currently gracing the cover of Sports Illustrated for their unprecedented resilience are ailing. They’re getting Rivera and maybe even Posada back in time for the Red
Sox series this weekend. Pettitte is more of a concern given that, as
Buster Olney wrote this morning, “inflammation” is not really a
diagnosis. It’s a symptom, and it can mean any number of things, some of
which could be serious.
In light of all of this, the question has to be asked: isn’t it funny how all the “core four” fans like to pretend that Andy Pettitte never played for Houston?
Wait, that’s not the right question. The right question is: can the Yankees deal with these injuries and still keep up with a Rays team that seems to be unstoppable?
So far so good, as Francisco Cervelli has filled in nicely for Posada and Joba Chamberlain could close for a lot of teams. Likewise, Brett Gardner, Nick Swisher, Robbie Cano and Derek Jeter are all playing great baseball. It’s a team with so many weapons that one or two can go down and things can be OK. But it’s certainly not ideal. Especially Pettitte’s injury, because there isn’t some easy answer for the rotation if he’s down for long.
Winning a championship is not simply a matter of writing checks. You need luck and above all else you need health. The Yankees have had those two things in abundance for the past 15 years. If it doesn’t hold up they can forget repeating.
The Cardinals went from winning 100 games last season to 82 entering Wednesday evening’s game, and they might not even make the playoffs. Still, the organization will bring back manager Mike Matheny for the 2017 season, Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.
Owner Bill DeWitt, Jr. said, “Mike’s done a really good job for us. There’s no thought that we’re going to go in any different direction.”
GM John Mozeliak also expressed his support, saying, “Mike takes a lot of heat, and I’ve defended him and I will continue to. I really feel like some of the things that we’re dealing with aren’t fair to put on the manager.”
Mozeliak continued, “I do feel like all of us are always held accountable for what we do here, so there’s nobody excluded from that. But having said that, I don’t look at him as someone that we are where we are because of that.”
Matheny has received criticism for his bullpen usage, but the Cardinals have only 15 blown saves as a team, the fourth-lowest total in baseball this season.
The Phillies’ bullpen led to yet another loss on Tuesday. Severino Gonzalez, Luis Garcia, Joely Rodriguez, and David Hernandez combined to allow six runs in five innings, allowing the Braves to come back and win 7-6 after falling behind 6-0 after the first two innings.
The game prior, the Phillies’ bullpen surrendered 14 runs in four innings in a 17-0 loss to the Mets. The game before that, the bullpen yielded four runs in four innings, nearly squandering the Phillies’ 10-0 lead after four innings. And last Thursday, the Phillies had taken an 8-6 lead in the top of the 11th, but Edubray Ramos served up a walk-off three-run home run to Asdrubal Cabrera. It’s been a tough month.
Manager Pete Mackanin ripped the bullpen when speaking to the media after Tuesday’s game. Via Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly:
Neris was going to close for us. I thought about using him with two outs in the eighth. But, at some point, somebody else has to do a (bleeping) job. Somebody else has to (bleeping) step up. In two games now, every reliever I brought in has given up a (bleeping) run. That’s unheard of.
The Phillies currently own the fourth-worst bullpen ERA in baseball at 4.97. Only the Rockies (5.12), Reds (5.07), and Diamondbacks (4.98) have been worse.
In fairness to the bullpen, aside from Jeanmar Gomez (who lost his job as closer earlier this month) and free agent signee David Hernandez, the bullpen is intentionally comprised of young, inexperienced pitchers as the Phillies are still rebuilding. If the Phillies were aiming for a playoff spot, it would be one thing, but the struggles are to be expected when one throws 24-year-olds into the deep end.