Showing posts with label Brian Bruney. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Brian Bruney. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Eighth Inning

No this isn't a post about Joba. It actually has nothing to do with him. This is about me wondering why Brian Bruney is still be trusted with that critical inning while Phil Hughes gets mop up duty, cleaning up other guy's messes.

Bruney was a revelation back in April but since then has not been the anchor that we've been waiting for. As a result of his struggles his ERA has shot up to 3.94. His FIP is still low but not what it was a week or so ago. I'm hesitant to throw Bruney right into the fire immediately after returning from his injury.

Meanwhile Phil Hughes has been trending the opposite way. As a starter he has mixed results. Some great starts, others were mediocore, and he has that one awful one that caused his ERA to balloon. Since switching to the bullpen he's been nothing but great. His numbers are all solidly above average now. His K/BB is well over 2.00, his ERA is 4. 34, and his FIP is down to 4.43. Take out that one awful start and his numbers easily match Bruney's. Still, for whatever reason he's not being entrusted with key innings.

Their are some very strong arguments for moving Hughes back to AAA, chief among these is the argument that if he doesn't build up his innings total, his innings limit next year will prevent him from moving into the rotation for the whole year. I believe that its worth that small sacrifice to take advantage of his dominating pitching out of the bullpen right now. However, if he's not going to be trusted with big innings then why bother keeping him here?

Streaking

This is the kind of game that a team has when things are going good. Since that last game against Atlanta they've been riding a six game winning streak and show no signs of slowing down. Last night was clearly not one of those nights when Joba dominates deep into a game. However, he gutted it out for a solid performance and let his all-star offense do the job its supposed to do.

Joba seemed unwilling or unable to throw strikes, yet again at the New Stadium. He walked three, not horrible but not great either, but it really showed in the fact that he had 96 pitches when he got pulled from the game with one out in the sixth. He was having a very nice game until he tired late into his outing. Through the first four inning the Mariners only got one run off of him on a homer by Ronny Cedeno. However, in the fifth they tagged him for two runs on a series of singles, walks, and three stolen bases. He gave way to Phil Coke in the sixth with a guy on second and one out. Coke finished the inning without further incidence and Hughes pitched an uneventful seventh.

At this point the Yankees had already blown their first lead of the game in the sixth and let the M's tie it back up at three. When Alex Rodriguez hit a two run homer (following a Johnny Damon double) to give them a 5-3 lead the game should have been over. Brian Bruney and Mariano Rivera were due to finish the game. Brian Bruney blew the lead again though, leading to another tie at 5-5. I suppose if you're being optimistic you could say this just set the scene for the drama in the ninth and gave Matsui, Jeter, Swisher, and Melky chances to be heroes but I'm concerned about Bruney. Since returning, he has not been the same pitcher.

Luckily they did retake the lead had Mariano Rivera to save the game in the ninth but it was definitely a lucky win.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Veras DFA'ed for Bruney

I forgot to post this earlier but better late than never I guess. Basically this gives the Yankees a couple days to trade Veras or he gets the choice between AAA and free agency. At least that's what I think. Anyway, this is the first step in fixing this bullpen.

Yankees Win

For a little while it looked like the Yankees were going to blow this one. Nobody was surprised when they pulled this one out though. Aside from the Yankees many comeback wins this year, Washington's bullpen is absurdly bad. I really feel bad for the National's few fans, if Ron Villone is pitching key innings for you, you're in big trouble.

C. C. Sabathia turned in another nice start today. The only mistake he made was the home run he gave up to Anderson Hernandez. However, he went deep into the game again and gave up only three runs. It was a long time before he gave up his one walk of the night. The only concern I have is that he only K'ed two guys. So far C. C. has been good and a big innings eater. However, not the ace we have hoped for. Hopefully, he will repeat his second half surge of last year, to some degree. The return of Brian Bruney to get the last out of the eighth was notable and Mariano turned in a typical 1-2-3 inning for the save.

Cano hasn't been hitting lately much at all lately but today may mark the start of a turnaround. If he could get going it would be huge for the Yankees and any time a guy goes 4-4 its a good day. His double at the end of the game essentially put the game away. Texeira also made some nice stretches in the field in contrast to his Washinton counterpart, Nick Johnson, and blasted a HIGH double to left center.

All in all, a nondescript win for the Yankees but still a if they lost it would have put them three behind Boston. Nobody wants to blow the series opener against Washington at home either.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Bullpen Moves

TheYankees are in pretty good shape right now. They're only two games behind Boston for the division and three games ahead of the Angels, Toronto, and Tampa for the Wild Card. If not for their miserable record against the Red Sox, they'd be sitting on top of the AL East with a comfortable lead. However, they have some obvious flaws and we're at the point in the season were the sample sizes are starting to become large enough for some use.

Its pretty obvious that some players are just not getting the job done and their are other guys languishing away in the minor leagues, waiting for a shot. Jose Veras, Phil Coke (more on him later), and Brett Tomko have just been awful. Replacing them with a few guys that can actually pitch would go a long way towards solving our bullpen issues.

First of all, we have the obvious. Brian Bruney will make his return tomorrow and if he can pitch anything like he did last year and the start of this year, he will quickly find his way back to the eight inning role (although I could change my mind tomorrow on that). I have high hopes for Bruney and believe that he, not Melancon or Joba, will be the next Yankees closer. His fastball velocity has steadily been rising over the years and at 27, is in the prime of his career.

Next is Mark Melancon to most Yankees fans he is the heir apparent to Mariano Rivera. I was calling for his promotion last September and now I definitely think he's ready. He didn't really get much of a shot in his brief ML stint this year but I think with time he will establish himself as a reliable cog in that bullpen. Anthony Claggett and Edwar Ramirez would also be in line for this spot.

Finally, we need a guy that can go multiple innings to take Tomko's place. That guy, for me, is Sergio Mitre. He has two good starts under his belt now in AAA and about nine innings of A ball in which he posted an FIP of 2.45. In his last ML stint in Florida, since then he's been hurt, he posted a deceptively high, but still solid, ERA of 4.65. I say deceptively high because his FIP was two ticks under four.

I doubt Coke will go because his ERA is low and he has earned Girardi's trust but Tomko and Veras for Mitre and Bruney would be an excellent trade off. I really don't care how good Veras' stuff is, he doesn't get outs and that's the bottom line.

BTW, this is the 1,000th post on the Chuck Knoblog. Its come a long way since I first joined Charlie and Nate back in August of last year and even longer since Nate launched the latest and greatest unnecesary Yankees blog. Its been great and I hope we can keep going for another 1,000 posts.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Some Positive Injury-Related News

We'll do this in bullet form, courtesy of Pete Abe:
  • Melky Cabrera had an MRI today and he likely will not need to go on the DL, as he should only be out 5-7 days after running into the wall and injuring his shoulder yesterday
  • Brian Bruney visited Dr. James Andrews, who examined his elbow and found no structural damage. He has a flexor muscle strain, and apparently it was not fully healed when he came back. He'll likely be out 2-3 weeks, but it could be a lot worse, as many of us thought he may need TJ
  • Jorge Posada is playing in extended spring training games and should be activated in Cleveland on Friday. That should be a boost for the offense
Nothing new on Xavier Nady, Damaso Marte, or Jose Molina, but hopefully all those guys will be back soon.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Cash Rules

Wang: “Performance-wise he was terrific. This was a much better hitting club. Columbus is a much better offensive club than the team he was facing last time, but his stuff was better last time to be honest. Although he performed great in both outings, he didn’t have the slider that he had last time. His changeup was better today than last time. His fastball velocity was a little bit lower this time than it was last time.
“At the same time, he handled the lineup and got a lot of groundballs. Facing guys like (Travis) Hafner kind of tells you a little something you want to know. I know Hafner is on a rehab assignment and he’s a guy who can really do some damage if you’re making mistakes, not making some pitches, and he made his pitches. That tells you a lot.
“What you’d love to see are all pitches working at optimal levels, but that’s not always realistic. Obviously the most important thing is performance and he has performed in his two starts here, there’s no doubt about that.”
“Ultimately, with him, as long as he’s getting sink, he can pitch and be successful, there’s no doubt about that. And he feels good about himself. I had a chance to talk to him in the trainer’s room, so these are two trips well worthwhile for me. Our team is winning in New York and we are getting closer to being healthy and adding guys like a Bruney and a Wang and that’s a great thing for us.”

Bruney: “He looked healthy, which is the biggest thing for him. Unlike Wang, he’s coming off of an elbow injury, so you want to see health, and I saw health.”

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Great Win but X-Man is Down

  • Most Imporantly from Pete Abe: Xavier Nady had a “sharp pain” in his right elbow in the seventh inning and was taken out of the game. He previously had elbow surgery. MRI tomorrow.
  • Burnett pitched a gem going for 8 and only twirling a no hitter through seven.
  • Swisher was well Swisher. He went 2-4 with a double and Home Run.
  • Jeter hit a sick HR in the 9th to seal the deal.
  • Bruney slammed the door shut with 3 quick outs.
  • RAB has a good minor league update.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Build Me A Bullpen

Now that the offense and starting pitching are more or less set, the next thing to sort out is the bullpen. We'll assume the Yankees are going to go with seven guys out of the bullpen. We know Mo is the closer, and we know Marte will be in there, and it is probably about 99% likely that Brian Bruney is in the mix, so that leaves four bullpen slots to be filled. Let's break it down:

The Front Runners:
Jose Veras: Veras had the second most appearances out of the bullpen after Mariano last season, and seemed to earn Joe Girardi's trust. He has great stuff (9.83 K/9), but often struggled with control (4.53 BB/9). That's too many walks for a setup role, but he should be a solid middle reliever. I think if he has another stretch like he did in June and August last year (2.08 ERA in 22 games from June 25 to August 16 last year) the Yanks should look to trade him given their surplus of live arms and his erraticness (I hope that's a word).

Edwar Ramirez: Third in appearences last year, he posted a solid 3.90 ERA. He is similar to Veras in that he has a high K rate (10.25) but also can be wild (3.90 BB/9), but gives the Yankees a different look than Veras, relying on his change rather than fastball and slider. He can be lights out at times, but is disaster-prone. He did seem to mature as a pitcher last year after reportedly working with Mo, cutting his walk rate nearly in half. He also threw his fastball and slider more while going to the change less. Still, he profiles as a middle reliever.

More Middle Relief:
Jonathan Albaladejo: Acquired from the Nationals last year for Tyler Clippard, he made only seven appearances for the Yanks last year, posting a 3.95 ERA, then getting sent down and getting injured while in Scranton. Though he didn't show it in his brief stint in the majors last year, he has good control, but is less overpowering than Veras and doesn't miss as many bats as Edwar. I think his poor walk rate may have something to do with the fact that he was misused last year. Girardi made him the de facto long man, which is not his ideal role. He should be better this year, and I think he has a decent shot at breaking camp with the team.

David Robertson: The 23 year old posted a 5.34 ERA in 30.1 IP last year, but that ERA is inflated due to a few bad outings, and for the most part he was effective last year. D-Rob is another guy with a strong K Rate (10.68) and poor walk rate (4.45). He has a strong minor league track record, and if he improves his control a bit he could be a very good reliever.

Mark Melancon: Though he has no major league experience, Melancon could be the guy on this list (Mo excluded) who has the biggest impact out of the pen come September. Last year he was coming off Tommy John surgery and sped through four minor league levels, posting strong numbers at every stop. His longest stint was in Trenton, when he posted a 1.81 ERA and .89 WHIP in 49.2 IP. He will likely start the season in Scranton, but could be called up as early as May, and could eventually work his way up to an eighth inning role.

Kanekoa Texeira: A 23 year old righty acquired in the Nick Swisher deal, he put up strong numbers between Hi-A and AA last year. He has pretty good stuff, good control, and keeps the ball in the yard. He likely will not make the team out of spring training, but could be in the mix later in the year.

JB Cox: Cox is another guy who was rehabbing from TJ last year. He was a highly rated closer coming out of Texas, and had a very good pro debut in 2006. He pitched well for part of the year last year, but ran out of gas towards the end (which makes sense given the fact that he hadn't pitched in a year), which inflated his numbers a bit. He's another guy who likely won't make the team out of camp, but if he can rediscover his 2006 form can be a contributer at the big leage level during the season.

Possible Long Men:
Dan Giese: A 33 year old, Giese is a bit of a late bloomer, but he had some big league success last year, both out of the bullpen and in spot starts. He posted a 3.53 ERA in 43.1 IP, and while he is not as overpowering as some of the guys listed above, he doesn't walk many batters. He does not possess the upside of anybody I have already named, but he can go multiple innings and could provide some value as a long man.

Phil Coke: Coke is a 26 year old lefty who made his major league debut last year as a reliever, though he had been a starter his whole minor league career. He gave up just one run and ten baserunners in 14.2 IP, but will likely start in Scranton's starting rotation. He has posted decent strikeout rates and good walk rates in his minor league career, but I think he will likely end up in the bullpen, where he could potentially have value as a long man, middle reliever, or lefty specialist.

Alfredo Aceves: Another guy who made his major league debut last year, Aceves made four pretty strong starts last year and will start the year in Scranton's rotation. I think he is more likely than Coke to remain a starter, but could potentially fill a role as a big league long man.

There are your options for the bullpen this year. The Yanks pen made improvements last year, and I think it should be even better this year. Mo, Marte and Bruney are a good top three, and given the Yanks' bullpen depth they should be able to fill it out very well. My guess for the pen to start the year is Mo, Marte, Bruney, Veras, Edwar, Albaladejo, and Giese, but that will surely change as the year goes on.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Swisher Being Swisher

















We love you Nick.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Bruney Signed

The Yanks have avoided arbitration with Brian Bruney by giving him a one year deal worth about 1.5 million dollars. This is it for the arbitration eligible players. Bruney could be a big part of the 2009 bullpen. Bruney has great stuff and ever since he lost that weight last winter he`s seemed to find some control. If he could put it all together then along with Marte, Rivera, and hopefully Melancon he could give the Yanks a killer back end of the bullpen.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Wang Out Until At Least September

The Yankees just got back the result of Chien-Ming Wang's MRI, and its bad. From Pete Abraham:
Imaging studies revealed a mid-foot sprain of the Lisfranc ligament of the right foot and a partial tear of the peroneal longus tendon of the right foot.
Along with Brian Bruney, that's two lisfranc injuries in one season for the Yankees, which is just plain bad luck. It has nothing to do with being out of shape, and these types of injuries are extremely uncommon for baseball players, but none of that matters right now. The Yankees will now look for a replacement, and if I were Brian Cashman, I would look internally before looking to the trade market.

Image From Charlie: The Yankees Really Got Kicked in the Wang on this One

Oww! That has GOT to hurt.

Monday, April 14, 2008

If Its Not One Thing, Its Another

The Yankees won today, ending a two-game mini losing streak, 8-7. However, it was 7-2 at one point. The offense finally showed up today, despite Jorge Posada, Robinson Cano (to start) and the 2008 MVP Jose Molina being out of the lineup. A-Rod hit a homerun, tying Ted Williams on the all-time list. Robinson Cano also homered while pinch hitting for the former attorney general in the eighth inning. The Yankees also got a quality start from Ian Patrick Kennedy, which was something that was much needed. So, seems like a good night... except for the bullpen. Billy Traber entered in the seventh inning, and gave up a two run homer to Carl Crawford. Brian Bruney also allowed a homer, and the bullpen as a whole gave up four runs in three innings. The bullpen had been good up to this point, so hopefully today was just an abberation.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Yanks Split With Rays

The Yankees won their second game in a row today, splitting the four game series with the Rays, in a game in which Mike Mussina, Brian Bruney, Kyle Farnsworth and LaTroy Hawkins pitched (I know, right?). Anyway, Moose pitched very well, going six and allowing one earned on a Jonny Gomes homer. He was economical too, and probably could have gone seven. Brian Bruney entered in the seventh, and pitched very well. He seems to be much improved from last year, maybe due to his being less fat. If Girardi doesn't burn him out like Torre did he could be a useful part this year. The Farns pitched the eighth, and didn't suck, which is always good. LaTroy pitched the ninth, and was greeted with chants of "Paul O'neill!" He got in some trouble, but pitched his way out of it and didn't allow any runs. The only negative of this game was that Derek Jeter left with a strained left quad. Hopefully he won't be sidelined too long. Tomorrow the Yankees play in KC, as Phil Hughes goes against Brian Bannister, which is a very interesting matchup.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Spring Recap

I wasn't able to watch much of today's game, but I did see an unimpressive inning from Steven White, and an opposite way double by Jason Giambi, which I was very pleased with. If he can stay healthy, I really think he can be solid contributor. After examining the box score, I can sum it up like this: Aside from Giambi's opposite-field double, he hit a long homerun, as did Jason Lane, who also hit a triple. Pitching wise, Andy Pettitte had a good day, as did LaTroy Hawkins, inducing three groundball outs. Sean Henn unfortunately had a good day, hopefully he won't make the team. Jose Veras also pitched a scoreless inning. Kyle Farnsworth and Brian Bruney picked up right were they left up, sucking.
After the game, the Yankees made their first cuts. No huge surprises; Eric Duncan, Jesus, Eduardo Nunez, and Austin Romine. Tomorrow they play Houston at 1:05.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Pitchers and Catchers!

Pitchers and catchers reported today. Here's a quick recap from around the league:
That's all for now.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Betemit Signs One Year Deal

UPDATE: Betemit received $1.165 million, a nice raise from the $405,000 he made last season.

Heres the story from Pete Abe

The Yankees sign Wilson Betemit today avoiding his arbitration. That leaves Brian Bruney, Robinson Cano and Chien-Ming Wang. Today is the day the teams and agents exchange salary numbers. Hearings starts on Feb. 1. The Yankees will likely have everybody signed by then.