Do the Yankees need to win the division?

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It’s not easy to find sane Yankees commentary. Between the bitter tabloids, bombastic talk radio, perspective-free national outlets and a fanbase with an unhealthy number of people who assume that anything short of 162-0 is a big freakin’ problem, thoughtful analysis can be hard to come by.

Thank goodness for places like TYU. There are a handful of good Yankees-centric blogs (like these guys and these guys), but I’m not sure that anyone thinks more deeply about the Bombers than they do.  They all have day jobs or are students. And I actually worry about them a bit, because I can totally see them losing track of their day-to-day while contemplating Joe Girardi’s strategic options in last night’s game or the precise lineup spot that optimizes Derek Jeter talents.

But that’s their problem. We all get to enjoy their thoughtful and reasoned Yankees analysis. Like today’s post about whether it matters if the Yankees win the division or the wild card, and whether it matters if they face Texas or Minnesota in the first round.  Lots of people have had takes on this in the last 48 hours or so, but I think TYU’s is the best I’ve seen. One reason: unlike so many commentators, TYU doesn’t assume Joe Girardi is an idiot, which is an increasingly common characterization of the guy that simply baffles me.

Overall I agree with TYU: Playing at home would be ideal, but sacrificing the division title in the name of team health is a fair tradeoff at this point.

Ian Kinsler lists the five toughest pitchers in the AL Central

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Every now and then, The Players’ Tribune runs a “five toughest” feature. In 2015, David Ortiz listed the five toughest pitchers he ever faced. Last month, Christian Yelich wrote up the five toughest pitchers in the NL East. Now, it’s Ian Kinsler‘s turn with the five toughest pitchers in the AL Central.

Kinsler goes into detail explaining why each pitcher is difficult to face, so hop over to The Players’ Tribune for his reasoning. His list

Presumably, Kinsler intentionally omitted his Tiger teammates from the list. He has faced Justin Verlander a fair amount earlier in his career, and he has only a .176/.333/.235 batting line in 42 plate appearances against the right-hander. Verlander’s stuff is often described as tough to hit in one phrase or another. Kinsler has also struggled against Indians starter Carlos Carrasco (.590 OPS), but one can understand why he would be omitted from a list of five given who was already listed.

Angels demote C.J. Cron to Triple-A

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Angels first baseman C.J. Cron hit a grand slam against the Mets on Sunday, but it wasn’t enough to keep his spot on the major league roster as the club announced his demotion to Triple-A Salt Lake on Monday. Infielder Nolan Fantana has been promoted from Salt Lake.

Cron, 27, was hitting a disappointing .232/.281/.305 with one home run and RBI in 90 plate appearances. I guess you can say that wasn’t the kind of Cron job the Angels were expecting. Cron was an above-average hitter in each of his first three seasons, finishing with an OPS+, or adjusted OPS, of 111, 106, and 115 (100 is average).

While Cron is figuring things out in the minors, Luis Valbuena, Jefry Marte, and Albert Pujols could each see some time at first base.