"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Enough is Enough

The title of this post was inspired by Eduardo Nunez, who can play any position on the field, not that you’d want him to. It also applies to CC Sabathia, who, I learned from YES, had locked up with the resident lefty Hulk over in Tampa, David Price, five times previously and not yet delivered a win for the Yanks. Despite E-Nunez gifting two runs to the Rays by botching two routine plays in the first two innings, the Yankees were all over David Price from the word “go” and CC Sabathia clamped down like a too-tight Ace bandage over eight excellent innings for a 5-3 win and a series victory.

What does Eduardo Nunez do well? He’s 24 years old. He can steal a base. He can stand anywhere on the diamond you ask him to and, if the ball is hit in his general vicinity, he might block it with some part of his body and throw it somewhere within the stadium in which he is playing. For some reason, this skill set is the lynchpin of Joe Girardi’s roster management strategy.

Most of the outfield is hurt? Don’t call up a Minor Leaguer, Nunez can stand out there. We have an old and injury prone left side of the infield? Start Nunez as often as possible. The legendary closer broke his knee? Is Nunez already in the game? Damn. Call up a reserve outfielder, I guess. Is this really what the Yankees have become? A team so shitty that Eduardo Nunez and his null set is vital? I don’t believe it.

But I digress. I considered writing about Mariano Rivera again tonight. About how his sudden absence has changed my outlook on the Yanks. Less childish. Less emotional. Less passionate. Then Eduardo Nunez booted an easy inning-ending grounder in the first and I shouted at the TV, “Get him off the field, he’s terrible!”

“What does “terrible” mean?”

Oh, shit, the kids are still up and they heard that. Backtrack and apologize or give them the hard truth that Eduardo Nunez sucks at baseball, relatively speaking? Backtrack. I have to get these kids through Little League, after all.

Anyway, somehow bedtime got extended until the Yanks tied it up at 2-2, so they went to sleep with fresh memories of Curtis Granderson homers. Better than sugar plums if you ask me.

Price sure looked like he had all his stuff, but the Yanks weren’t fooled very often. Granderson homered and blasted another to the warning track. Alex had great swings and two hits. Cano saw him better than anyone, with three hits and the telling blow, a two-run jack. Last night, the Yankees scored one run off of Jeff Neimann and were lucky to get it. Tonight they scored five off David Price and seemed a good bounce away from getting ten. Go figure.

In the six innings without a Nunez error, Sabathia permitted four base runners and held the Rays scoreless. His final line was eight innings, two unearned runs, seven hits, one walk, and ten strikeouts. I think he was better than that line indicates, if that’s possible. CC Sabathia is quite possibly the one thing the Yanks got right this winter. And it’s a big one. Next time we’re bitching about Pineda, Montero and Ibanez, let’s be sure to throw CC on the scales.

Let’s also give Joe Girardi some credit for a smart move tonight. He took Nunez out for a defensive replacement. In the sixth inning.


Photo by Mike Stobe/AP




Categories:  1: Featured  Game Recap  Jon DeRosa  Yankees

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1 Mr OK Jazz Tokyo   ~  May 10, 2012 10:41 pm

There's been some HORRIFIC in-game managing this year from so many managers (C.Manuel, Donnie Baseball, almost every move in Seattle and KC) but nothing is more perplexing than JoeyJoeJoe's fascination with Nunez. As bad as all the old-skool/small-ball stuff & bullpen mismanagement is by those other guys, at least they can say they are "doing things the way we've always done them". Frustrating, but understandable.

JoeyJoeJoe's use of Nunez is 100% inexplicable.

2 Ara Just Fair   ~  May 10, 2012 10:45 pm

I missed Nunez's early inning mishaps. I have given him the benefit of the doubt but that is wearing thin. My only defense left is it is not easy playing multiple positions well in the Big Leagues. They ones that do it are rare commodities. Ramiro Pena had his cup of joe but he couldn't hit a lick and never got as much playing time. Stay Healthy, CC! Amen.

3 Dillon   ~  May 11, 2012 12:21 am

Nunez is truly dreadful. I keep trying to do a cost / benefit analysis in my head: A-Rod's half days off leading to an injury free season / Nunez consistently botching these lay-up plays. Credit to CC for staying strong, I could only imagine that, as a pitcher, it'd be frustrating to see runs on the board so early, and seeing an inning prolonged that rightfully should've been over.

4 monkeypants   ~  May 11, 2012 2:47 am

[1] When Joe Torre began to do this sort of thing---like starting Miguel Cairo at 1B---I began to think he was doing so out of spite. Is this Girardi's not so subtle jab at Cashman's roster construction?

5 Chyll Will   ~  May 11, 2012 5:31 am

I'm reminded of Bobby Meacham minus the Columbus Shuffle for some reason, but I like MP's theory, it makes the most sense unless you think Girardi hasn't gotten tired of being manager.

6 RIYank   ~  May 11, 2012 6:08 am

Josh Beckett lights the match...

7 Mr OK Jazz Tokyo   ~  May 11, 2012 6:23 am

[4][5] Yep, that makes sense..and yet..I think Joe G IS that stubborn and believes Nunez can contribute..

[6] Just read that! So great seeing the classiest org in baseball continue to be classy!

8 Mr OK Jazz Tokyo   ~  May 11, 2012 6:44 am

[6] And this: http://espn.go.com/boston/mlb/story/_/id/7917942/defiant-josh-beckett-just-get-it

Remember when Yankee-hater Rob Neyer wrote an absurd bit on how even he championship rings showed how classy the Sox org was from top to bottom compared to the Yankees gaudy rings? (Note: the Yanks rings were excessively gaudy) Petty, but my schoolyard doppleganger loves the whole Sox Nation wallowing right now :)

9 RIYank   ~  May 11, 2012 6:49 am

[7] [8] No, I forgot (or never knew) that Rob Neyer thing. The Sox are very low on class now, for sure. They don't even have Wakefield anymore. Lester, maybe? I could root for Lester.

But don't worry, John Lackey will return next year.

I wish the Celtics had lost, by the way. That would have made this morning's commute perfect.

10 Mr OK Jazz Tokyo   ~  May 11, 2012 6:55 am

[9] Neyer's Yankee hatred is so annoying I stopped reading him.

Couldn't get Keith Jarrett tickets so treating myself to German Dark Wheat Beer and Pirates - Nationals while kids are in bed. Two thoughts: that Pirates Stadium is super cool; Stephen Strasburg is really good. (Bet you didn't know that!)

11 Mr OK Jazz Tokyo   ~  May 11, 2012 7:00 am

Steve Blass is the announcer for the Pirates? THE Steve Blass?? Wow..

12 Ben   ~  May 11, 2012 7:09 am

I just read those links about Beckett. Jeez. The guy really thinks he's a cowboy.

Whelp, his team allows his behavior. Not my problem. I'm glad the Yanks don't have a guy like that right now. Haven't had a problem rooting for a single Yank since Clemens retired.

13 Mr OK Jazz Tokyo   ~  May 11, 2012 7:15 am

Clint Hurdle manages the Pirates..why do small market teams continue to hire retread managers? Wouldn't it be better to just give a young guy with new ideas a chance?
Kind of sad about the Pirates..

Damn, Strasburg is really, really good. Against this craptacular lineup he could K 20 am sure.

14 Mr OK Jazz Tokyo   ~  May 11, 2012 7:25 am

More riveting live blog commenting of Pirates-Nationals, anyone?

This Pirates team is just awful. But Steve Blass is surprisingly good as an announcer.

And boy, does Davey Johnson look old..I still think of him as he looked when the Mets manager.

15 RIYank   ~  May 11, 2012 7:25 am

I know, Strasburg. Damn. And, great attitude. My brother just called him the anti-Beckett.

16 Mr OK Jazz Tokyo   ~  May 11, 2012 7:34 am

[15] He just whiffed 7 straight. Of course, one was the pitcher and the rest of the Pirates are barely better but still. Waiting to see how Pittsburgh score off him. My Dunkleweissbier is running out though..

17 OldYanksFan   ~  May 11, 2012 8:00 am

[8] Here's another. Tremendous fun!

Listen: Nunez, baring unforseeable circumstances, IS Jeter's successor at best, and a needed UIF at worst, for a team with an aging SS and 3B. I can't defend his current Defense. Nobody can. But I believe he is much better than he has shown. I also believe when he is a regular, playing ONLY SS, we will see better.

Also notice that when he throws overhand, his throws are strong and accurate. When he get lazy/sloppy, like last night, he throws from a miriad of sidearm slots, and where the ball ends up is anyone's guess. He is the 'Melkman' of infielders. His problem resides above the shoulders.

I'm not guaranteeing he will make the grade, but especially considering the $189m number, and what the current SS crop is, a cost controlled average or better SS will be VERY valuable to the Yankees.

Maybe we should cut Nunez HALF the slack we have extended to Hughes.

Also: Yes, Joe is resting ARod and Jeter an excessive amount this early in the season.

Question: Would you rather this continue, in hopes they are both very fresh in Sept/Oct, OR should we play them 90% of the time and see what Sept/Oct brings?

Let's remember, that aside from Joe G. having been both a professional ballplayer and manager, he also lives with these guys 10 hours/day. Possible he has a better feel for who-should-play-when then we do?

18 kenboyer made me cry   ~  May 11, 2012 8:18 am

[17] I hear you, and over the long season, Nunez will probably prove his value, and I agree, his problem is above the shoulders. With that being the case, taking him out in the 6th inning yesterday will not help his psyche. A major leaguer has got to make those plays, 99.9% of the time and the coaches must work with him on these fundamentals, or cut bait if he can't.

Nunez' errors yesterday contributed to at least an extra 20 pitches from CC, and without them CC would have been able to easily complete the game, saving the bullpen. Soriano cannot pitch today.

19 Ben   ~  May 11, 2012 8:21 am

OYF! That was too much sage wisdom at once.

I agree though, in terms of Nunez. I love playing young guys if you can. Not everyone is going to be Jeter in their first years. Hell, even Jeter had a ton of errors that rookie campaign.

20 Ara Just Fair   ~  May 11, 2012 8:30 am

[16] He's just the 2nd pitcher ever to strike out 13 or more in his first 2 career starts vs. the same team. I saw that factoid this morning but already forget the other guy. Damn! Kerry Wood, possibly. I hope SS has a nice, long career. He is unbelievably good. Walter Johnson type nasty pitches. A 90 mph change-up for Mo's sake!

21 monkeypants   ~  May 11, 2012 8:35 am

[17] But I believe he is much better than he has shown.

He can't be much worse.

I also believe when he is a regular, playing ONLY SS, we will see better.

And what is the evidence for this? Certainly not his MiL trajectory.

Maybe we should cut Nunez HALF the slack we have extended to Hughes.

If he were half the prospect that Hughes was, he would warrant half the slack-cutting. But he's not, so he gets less rope. Hughes was supposed to be a #1 or #2 starter if he reached his ceiling. Nunez is a BUIF, and a not particularly good one (though better, it seems than Peña).

22 monkeypants   ~  May 11, 2012 8:36 am

[19] Hell, even Jeter had a ton of errors that rookie campaign.

But he hit.

23 Jon DeRosa   ~  May 11, 2012 8:37 am

[17] What Nunez is, I don't know. The next starting SS of the New York Yankees? I hope not, but we shall see.

What Nunez is not, that I know. He's not a jack-of-all-trades super sub that can fill in at every position and keep the Yanks humming while resting regulars. He can't make the basic plays and using him this way is detrimental to the team.

There's no evidence that Nunez can do what Girardi is asking him to do. Blind faith, if you've got it to spare, fine, go with that.

24 Ben   ~  May 11, 2012 8:45 am

22. I know I know. But he was also the regular.

I don't know about Nunez. But I like to think that the staff, having seen so many players, see something worthwhile in Nunez. What else can I assume? He's not getting the nod because of his on field results.

25 knuckles   ~  May 11, 2012 8:48 am

The good thing about living in the central time zone, is by the time I get home, it's too late for me to b1tch about Girardi's awful lineup composition.

Doug Glanville wrote a great column on Mo today:

26 monkeypants   ~  May 11, 2012 9:03 am

[22] He was a regular because he could hit, not the other way around. Jeter was (IIRC) the #2 pick overall; he was twice the Yankees MiL player of the year, and he hit .804 OPS over his MiL career. By 22 he was a ML starter.

That's pretty much everything Nunez is not. I have no idea what the Yankees staff sees. They must see some that literally we cannot, because his on field performance and his statistical track record in MiL don't promise very much going forward.

27 monkeypants   ~  May 11, 2012 9:05 am

[23] There's no evidence that Nunez can do what Girardi is asking him to do...

And of course, some of this is forced by the sometimes bizarre roster construction. It's bad enough teams carry now 12 pitchers, but when two starting OFs go down, should the response be to....not put on one the DL while replacing the other with another pitcher (then finally replacing him with another BUIF-jack-of-all-trade types)?

28 Shaun P.   ~  May 11, 2012 9:06 am

[22] [24] The average AL SS, right now: .255/.309/.367

Eduardo Nunez overall, right now: .294/.356/.373

By the standards of the positions, Nunez is hitting.

[23] Jon's got it exactly right. Nunez is not Jerry Hairston Jr., he's not Tony Phillips, he's not Gil MacDougal, he's not Sean Rodriguez or Ben Zobrist or any of the Rays' multi-position guys. Yet Girardi keeps treating him like he is. Its very foolish on his part.

I think Girardi is trying to create flexibility because outside of the 8 every day players, he's got a backup catcher, two DHs who are "break glass in emergency only" outfielders and a guy who can only play 1B and 3B - and Nunez. That is a problem. However, there's a better solution than making Nunez something he's not: drop down to a 6 man bullpen.

29 monkeypants   ~  May 11, 2012 9:11 am

[17] Yes, Joe is resting ARod and Jeter an excessive amount this early in the season. Question: Would you rather this continue, in hopes they are both very fresh in Sept/Oct...

I don't mind that he is resting his starters, though one hopes they actually make the post season for that rest to come in handy. Rather, I object to him resting his starters in such a way that Eduardo Nunez is pressed into playing every position on the field poorly.

Maybe if this team of aging veterans must get so much rest, it would be best to carry an additional bench player rather than a 12th or even 13th pitcher. Or maybe try to find some decent back-ups who can actually competently play a position, since on this given team they will likely get a fair amount of playing time.

30 monkeypants   ~  May 11, 2012 9:13 am

[28] Right, he's hitting (so far) for an AL SS. Not for a 3B, LF, etc.

I agree entirely with your solution!!

31 Shaun P.   ~  May 11, 2012 9:27 am

[30] The worst part is, the Yanks could easily do it, and Pettitte's return gives them the perfect excuse.

They could option Epply down for Pettitte, and then release Rapada (unless he can be optioned, too). As Mattpat might say, giving Girardi a second lefty is like giving a coke addict a dime bag - it can only end badly.

OR, my preferred choice, option Epply down for Pettitte, and release Garcia. Phelps can be the long man / spot starter; he's clearly ahead of Garcia on the pecking order. If another starter gets hurt, DJ Mitchell and Adam Warren are available. If Garcia isn't starting and isn't the emergency starter, there's no point to having him on the team.

Since April 28th, Garcia and Eppley have pitched a grand total of 4.3 innings. There's no point to a 7 man bullpen.

32 monkeypants   ~  May 11, 2012 10:30 am

[31] Preach it, brother!

33 OldYanksFan   ~  May 11, 2012 11:56 am

The fact that Girardi/The Yankees are treating Nunez like the Super Sub he's NOT, is not his fault. That's partially my point. On a non-contender (or the Red Sox), he would play SS everyday, and we would at least see what he's got. Playing him at 3rd, 2nd and LF (where he has very little experience, and is playing poorly) can't be helping his development or his ego.

We have seen him drive balls into the gaps and really sting some shots. In burst, he has shown he can hit for his position. His numbers are already above average for a SS.

But the real issue is $189m. It's already a bitch figuring out how to keep Cano, and/or Swisher, and/or Granderson, no less add to the SR. Do we really want to have to go out and find a SS also? Fortunately, Jeter has been reborn and looks like he might man the position for another year or 2 (although his lateral movement is REALLY slow. He makes what look like great attempts at balls I think other SS's have rather easily).

And how many here were sure Gritner would never be more than an AAAA player? Maybe we get lucky with Nunez too. The point is we NEED to fill as many positions as possible with cost controlled players, and at least Nunez fits that description.

34 OldYanksFan   ~  May 11, 2012 11:57 am

"There's no point to a 7 man bullpen."
Maybe not now, but could you say that when both Hughes and Freddie were in the rotation?

35 Chyll Will   ~  May 11, 2012 11:59 am

Clint Hurdle isn't that much of a retread to me. It makes sense for the Pirates to have him at the helm right now; first he turned a moribund Rockies team around mid-season and turned them into contenders. Second, the Pirates have a young roster, save for A.J. and could use a leader with experience managing and "teach" them the ropes, as it were. I had no problem with Toronto bringing back Cito Gaston a couple of seasons ago for those reasons (mainly they thought they still had a shot) and Cito was a winning manager before and sort of stabilized the club the rest of the way. It depends who it is, though; I don't see Eric Wedge changing any team's culture for the better, and Joel Skinner never worked out his first and only time as a manager, for example.

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