Friday, August 31, 2012

Friday Afternoon Linkapalooza: 8/31

We get paid bi-weekly at my company, which means 2 months out of the year there are months where I get 3 paychecks.  August happens to be one of those months, and today happens to be the payday for that glorious 3rd check, and I gotta tell ya, that's a great feeling.  For a non-commission-making cubicle monkey like myself, that 3rd check is like a brick of solid gold being placed into my hand.  Some of us from work have the company seats to tonight's Brewers-Pirates game, and if I had the time beforehand, I would stop at the bank and get my check converted into singles just so I could drag a garbage bag full of money into the stadium and go Pacman Jones on people's asses.  The 3rd check is license to spend, and I'm telling you right now, I'm going to stimulate the economy in a big way tonight.  Now onto the links!

- On Monday, Matt Duggan of Pinstripe Alley ditched the defensive ratings and just looked at Curtis Granderson's decrease in number of balls caught this season to show how poor he's been defensively.

- Brien Jackson of IIATMS explained why it's not out of the realm of possibility for the Yankees to end up in the same situation the Fraud Sawx were in before the big trade.

- On Tuesday, SJK of NoMaas reminded everybody of how horrid Derek Jeter's defense has been this season.  It's only fair to touch on that if we're going to praise him for how great he's been at the plate.

- On Wednesday, Mike Eder of TYA analyzed D-Rob's transformation into a more Mo-like pitcher.  There are certainly worse pitchers to emulate.

- Trevor Wolff of Sliding Into Home issued his "State of the System" Minor League address, and touched on guys like Tyler Austin and David Adams.

- On Thursday, William Juliano of The Captain's Blog talked about the importance of context when discussing the great art of sac bunting in relation to the Yankees' loss on Wednesday.

- Chris Carelli of Yanks Go Yard discussed the small deadline moves the Yankees made in place of a bigger one and how little of a positive impact those moves have had.

- The team of Mike Ashmore and Josh Norris posted another interview with Mark Newman, this one touching on selections for the Arizona Fall League and Dellin Betances.

- Ashmore also scored some interview time with Brian Cashman at the press conference to announce the contract extension with the Trenton Thunder.  Cashman talks about the new deal, September call-ups, and young guys who've impressed him this season.

- Fishjam25 of Yankees Fans Unite reviewed the lay of the land for the Yankees right now, and set the stage for this weekend's series against Baltimore.

- On Friday, Mike Axisa of RAB did his weekly mailbag, and I'm linking to it just for his take on the upcoming Rule 5 eligibility situation this offseason.  Some players worthy of protection are probably going to be left exposed.  It will be interesting to see if any teams take a shot at some of them.

This week's Friday jam is simple, straightforward, badass rock and roll.  Old school Metallica, perfect for a night of drinking PBR cans and trying to pretend that Brewers-Pirates is entertaining.

Enjoy your weekends, everybody.

Screw Pedro Feliciano And The Left Arm He Signed His 2-Year Deal With

(Used courtesy of Mike Ashmore)

As we move ever closer to roster expansion tomorrow, the biggest name on the list of potential call-ups is Pedro Feliciano.  The left-handed reliever hasn't pitched an inning for the Yankees since signing a 2-year, $8 million contract before last season, instead spending his time rehabbing a serious arm injury.  He's been on the rehab trail for some time now, allowing 2 ER with 8 K/3 BB in 6.1 IP over 7 appearances at various levels of the MiL system.  He's currently scheduled to make his next appearance today for SS Staten Island and then likely return to the Yankees' active roster.  It's a move that's never not going to happen, as this is exactly what roster expansions are all about.  But if I had my say in the matter, I'd tell Pedro to pound sand.

Gut Check Time For Phil Hughes

(No, not that gut)

Cue the John Cena music, because Phil Hughes' time is up and his time is now.  In his 7-year professional career, Hughes has been a 1st-round draft pick, a top-flight Yankee prospect, a top 5 blue chip prospect in all of baseball, a future ace, a promising young arm, an injury-prone question mark, a dominant reliever, an encouraging project, an out-of-shape failure, and now a solid middle-of-the-rotation contributor.  He's had enough ups and downs, changes to his role and pitching style, and injury problems to last an entire career and yet he's still only 26 years old.  Hughes has bounced back nicely in 2012 after last year's disaster, and he now finds himself rapidly approaching a crossroads in his career path as it relates to being a New York Yankee.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Horse Is Getting Ready To Canter

Via Peter Botte of The NY Times:

"Alex Rodriguez will DH on Friday for Class-A Tampa, and if all goes well, he will play 3B there on Saturday."

Well polish your saddles, sharpen your spurs, and get ready to strap on the feed bag, folks, because The Horse is coming out of the stable!  News like this couldn't come at a better time.  This offense needs help in the worst way, and even an announcement of a middle-of-the-order bat getting back on the field is helpful.

AB4AR's 3-Year Anniversary

First off, I have to say that I'm glad I even remembered that today is the anniversary of the start of AB4AR, because I completely missed it last year and didn't even realize I had missed it until about mid-October.  I was that in the zone dumb and so I made doubly sure I didn't botch it again this year.

Now that the full disclosure of my idiocy is out of the way, I can get to what I really want to say.  Three years ago, I finally worked up the courage and the motivation to start a Yankee blog.  I had no idea what I wanted it to be, or how I wanted to cover Yankee baseball, but I knew I wanted to write about the Yankees.  That lack of direction was very clearly reflected in the early days of AB4AR, which are almost embarrassing to read when I go back and look at some of that stuff.  The subtitle on the banner of this site reads "attempting to balance rationality and basic baseball logic with rabid Yankee homerism."  In the early days, that balance was about 20% rationality and basic baseball logic and 80% rabid Yankee homerism.  Today, I'd like to think that balance has shifted to 80% rationality and logic and 20% homerism, and that's what I want the site to be.

I've turned this little site from a place where I could air my grievances with the UConn basketball team to something somewhat legitimate in the Yankee blogosphere.  I've had the opportunity to interact with and work with some of the best Yankee blogs and bloggers out there and that makes me feel good.  I take pride in the fact that this is just a one-man operation that churns out new content almost every day out of the year, and I take pride in the fact that people out there, whether you like and agree with my takes or hate them and think I'm an idiot, take time out of their days to read what I write.  I have absolutely no problem saying that very often I put more time and effort into writing for AB4AR than I do my actual job, so to know there are other Yankee fans and writers out there reading my stuff is awesome.

So to everybody out there who does read, or has read, something on AB4AR, even if it was only one post, thank you.  Thank you from the bottom of my black, sarcastic heart.  It's a pleasure and a privilege to be able to do this, and I'm looking forward to keeping AB4AR going into a 4th year, a 5th year, and hopefully much more than that.

A Demonstration In Extreme Roster Rigidity

(I pictured Cash doing this in his office after yesterday's game)

I've tried to touch on the subject in more positive ways over the past few days, but after yesterday afternoon's debacle, I really don't have the energy to try to put a positive spin on the situation.  I really don't even have the energy to try to analyze or hypothesize what could be done to help the situation.  So instead, I'm just going to state the facts and the numbers that make up this ever-expanding 25-man roster of underperforming platoon players.

Game 130 Wrap-Up: TOR 8 NYY 5

(That pretty much sums it up.  Courtesy of Getty Images)

As we vented our current frustrations with the Yankees on our TYA email chain yesterday, I tried to sum it up by saying it's one thing to lose a game, it's another thing to lose a close game, and it's a completely different thing altogether to continue to lose close games because you're playing the same brand of bad baseball.  That last thing describes this current Yankee slump and pretty much every other bad stretch of ball they've had this season.  When they lose, it's usually defined by failure to advance runners and consistently drive in guys with RISP, sloppy play in the field, inability to finish off opposing hitters and innings, and bad relief pitching.  It was all on display yesterday, and it was downright ugly.

Game Notes:

- The Yanks didn't waste any time jumping on Jays' starter J.A. Happ, with table setters Derek Jeter and Nick Swisher doing what they've been doing for the last 2-3 weeks and scoring on an Andruw Jones single and Curtis Granderson groundout for a 2-0 lead after 1.

- CC Sabathia was sharp to start, but gave up 3 unearned runs in the top of the 3rd that was equal parts shitty defense, crazy good BABIP luck, and failure on Carsten's part to pick up his D and put guys away with 2 strikes and 2 outs in the inning.

- He was picked right back up in the bottom half, thanks to some positive BABIP luck for the Yanks.  With 2 runners on (walks), Granderson lined a ball into left that Rajai Davis misplayed into a 2-run double and the Yanks were back on top 4-3.  It was curtains from here on out.

- Sabathia left a slider up just enough for Yunel Escobar to crush it for a HR in the 6th to put Toronto back on top 5-4.  In the 3rd and 6th innings, Sabathia gave up all 5 of his runs (2 earned) and all 9 of his hits.

- There were plenty of chances for the offense to respond, in fact they put runners on base all day.  But 3-17 with RISP ain't gonna get it done, nor is coming away with 0 runs in a bases loaded, 1 out situation like they did in the 4th.

- Behind CC, 5 middle relievers combined to give up 3 R ( 2 ER) on 3 H and 2 BB in just 2 innings.  More poor defense helped (the Yankees had 3 fielding errors on the night), but this group is just pathetic right now.

- It wasn't a horrible outing by CC (see above), with 8 Ks and 0 BB, but his failure to get a final out in the 3rd and HR in the 6th were enough to help the team lose.  The Yankees needed a full shutdown outing, not just 5 innings.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Optimizing The Platoon-Heavy Lineup

The announcement of the Mark Teixeira injury was the latest blow in the battle between the baseball gods and the health of the Yankee players, one that will leave the lineup even shorter and less flexible than it already was with Teix still active.  The Yankees made a move to add Steve Pearce to the roster yesterday, but that's hardly enough to make up for the loss of Teix in the middle of the order.  A post by Mike Axisa on RAB yesterday on how the Yankees can go about managing the lineup with Teix and A-Rod out caught my attention, in particular Mike's idea of just playing to the platoon splits:

"With Teixeira out of the lineup, the Yankees would have four players for four spots against righties — Dickerson, Ichiro Suzuki, Raul Ibanez, and Eric Chavez. Chavez has to play third and Ichiro an outfield corner; that’s the easy part. Having Dickerson around allows them to keep Ibanez at DH and put Dickerson in the other outfield corner while the switch-hitting Nick Swisher plays first. Against lefties they would have Andruw Jones, Casey McGehee, Jayson Nix, and the recently-acquired Steve Pearce for those same four positions: Jones at DH, McGehee at third, Nix in left, and Pearce at first with Swisher in his usual right field."

It's not ideal in the sense that there will be a lot of guys not getting regular at-bats, but with the collection of slightly-below to slightly-above average platoon hitters the Yankees have at the moment, it's probably the best option to maximize the lineup's output potential.  If you'll allow me a moment to put on my manager pants, here's how I would build off of Mike's suggestion and create the 2 platoon lineups.

Phil Hughes' New Pitch

The biggest talking point from last night's stellar 1-run outing by Phil Hughes was his introduction of a new/old pitch to his repertoire.  The Yankosphere and PITCHf/x are calling it a slider, and it damn sure looks like one...

(Courtesy of Mike Eder, TYA gifmaster)

... but via his postgame comments last night, Hughes himself is referring to it as a slider/cutter combo, bringing back together the pitch he abandoned earlier this year and the pitch that he abandoned far longer ago when he was still in the Minors.  The pitch certainly appears to slide more than cut, but if Phil is saying it's both then who am I to argue?  Plus, if it slides and it cuts then there's already a perfect name for it.

The Slutter.

Thank you, thank you.  I'll be here all week.

Game 129 Wrap-Up: NYY 2 TOR 1

(Always good to see Phil rise to the occasion.  Courtesy of The AP)

It's been a pretty black and white season for Phil Hughes in 2012.  He's made 26 starts and has 24 decision, 13 of them wins and 11 of them losses.  Of course there's some offensive support, bullpen work, and plain old luck that goes with determining what a pitcher's record is, but Hughes' results this year have been indicative of a guy who's either been right on his game or way off of it in most starts, with very few shades of gray in the middle.  The Yankees needed Phil to be on last night to help them avoid a series loss to the basement dweller of the AL East and he came up big.

Game Notes:

- Hughes walked leadoff hitter Rajai Davis to start the game, but quickly corrected that and looked sharp through the first 3 scoreless innings.  He was throwing all 3 pitches again, a good sign that he's continuing to improve his changeup, and mixing them well.

- He got a little run support in the bottom of the 3rd when Jayson Nix and Ichiro Suzuki hit back-to-back singles to put runners on first and second with 1 out.  The scalding hot Nick Swisher singled to drive in Nix and the Yankees led 1-0.

- The Yanks manufactured another run in the 4th when Steve Pearce walked, took second on a wild pitch by Ricky Romero, moved to third on a groundout, and scored on a Curtis Granderson sac fly.  It wasn't as sexy as Teix hitting doubles and homers, but it got the job done.

- Hughes struck out Adeiny Hechevarria with fastballs in the 3rd inning, and he tried to do the same in the 5th but missed and gave up Hechavarria's first career HR.  It was an unforgivable mistake, but the only one Hughes would make on the night.

- There was some trouble in the 6th after Hughes walked the first 2 batters, but a brilliant leaping catch and double play turn by Robinson Cano on a line bailed him out.  If your offense is hurting, you better be playing some good D, and the Yankees did last night.

- And the offense was hurting after the 4th inning.  They put 2 on in the 5th but didn't score, and then they were retired in order in the final 3 innings.

- The bullpen needed a rest, which Hughes gave them with his 7 strong innings, but Joe pushed for the win by going to the D-Rob/Soriano well for the third straight game.  They got the job done, in perfect fashion, to secure the win and likely ensure that we won't see either of them today.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Screw It, Call Up Mark Montgomery

(Used courtesy of Josh Norris)

These are perilous times in Yankeeland, friends.  Injuries have the lineup disintegrating into one giant platoon (or more accurately, TWO giant platoons), the rotation is still operating at just 60% of its ideal capacity, the bullpen is essentially Rafael Soriano, David Robertson, and pray for 7 strong from the starter and no extra innings, and there's still over a month of regular season baseball to play.  The division lead that felt safe and sound 2 months ago (opening myself up to some ridicule there) has shrunk to a competitive level and the Yankees are limping to the finish line.

There isn't much that can be done to address the holes in the lineup or rotation.  They will take care of themselves as guys come back from injury or continue to operate as they are if it turns out those guys can't make it back.  But the bullpen can be helped, and when rosters expand in a few days the Yankees will have a chance to really help themselves if they call up a certain pitcher.  And I'm not talking about Justin Thomas or Pedro Feliciano here, I'm talking Mark Montgomery.  More than any other roster expansion addition, he can offer exactly what the bullpen needs right now.

Teix's Calf Injury Is A Real Problem

(Everybody remember this?  It could happen again.  Courtesy of the Daily News)

This injury stuff is starting to get downright ridiculous.  It's like the injuries are Pumpkin and Honey Bunny from "Pulp Fiction," sticking their guns in my face, interrupting my attempted calm and rational take on the Yankees' situation, and stealing my Bad Motherfucker wallet.  And I'm Jules Winnfield, just sitting there, staring back at the injuries and telling them that I'm trying, I'm trying real hard to be the Shepard.  I don't want to fly off the handle about this, but holy balls!  It's really becoming an issue.  The offense is already sputtering, the pitching staff as a whole is iffy at best, and the division lead continues to be just close enough for discomfort.  And now Teix is going to be out at least 1-2 weeks with a Grad I calf strain.  Fan-effing-tastic.

Game 128 Wrap-Up: TOR 8 NYY 7

(Not the play where Teix strained his calf.  Courtesy of The AP)

The Yankees are 20 games over .500 right now, and if you really stop and think about it, that's a pretty damn good record considering how many winnable games they have lost this season.  Too many times there are games where they score early and then ever again and lose, or they do nothing early but score a few runs late but fall short and lose.  Last night it was the bullpen's turn to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, as the Yankee relief corps combined to give up 4 runs (5 if you want to count Eppley's inherited runner) to help the Yanks lose another game they should have won and get off to a bad start in this home series against Toronto.

Game Notes:

- Both teams traded solo shots in the early innings, Robinson Cano in the 1st and Adam Lind in the 2nd.  Cano's wasn't quite enough to say he's officially out of his slump, but it put him right on the edge.

- And he officially went from out of his slump to "on a hot streak" when he led off the 4th inning with his 2nd consecutive HR.  The Yankees followed that up with 2 more runs in the inning on an RBI single by Russell Martin and an RBI groundout by Raul Ibanez to make it 4-1 New York.

- The biggest news of this inning was Mark Teixeira hobbling around the bases to score a run and then leaving the game after the inning.  The eventual diagnosis was a calf strain and Teix is already expected to miss at least 1-2 weeks.  Great.

- For his part, David Phelps did a very good job outside of the homer to Lind through the first 4 innings.  He was throwing all his pitches for strikes, locating his fastball well, and allowed only 1 other hit.

- All of that good work went out the window in the 5th when Phelps gave up another HR, this one a 2-run job, to Yorvit Torrealba to make it 4-3.  No matter how well you're pitching, 2 HR in a start just isn't good.

- Nick Swisher continued his hot hitting and boosted the advantage right back up to 3 with a 2-run HR of his own in the top of the 6th.  Derek Jeter was on first after a leadoff walk, and he and Swish continue to carry the offense.

- Phelps pitched into the 7th, getting another run tacked onto his ledger when Cody Eppley couldn't bail him out, but the game turned in the 9th when Rafael Soriano came in for the save.  For some reason, he went away from his fastball after giving up a hit, but couldn't locate his slider and he threw a hanger that Colby Rasmus crushed for a 7-6 Toronto lead.

- But The Captain wasn't going down that easily.  Jeter came right back in the bottom of the 9th and hit a trademark HR to right field to lead off the inning and tie the game back up at 7.

- Unfortunately, the offense could do no more after that or in extras, and Derek Lowe's awful 2-base throwing error led to the eventual winning run on a groundout in the 11th.  Shitty way to lose.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Did Cash Fire Up Jeter In 2010?

(Did Cash use his Shaolin style on Jeter at the negotiating table in 2010?)

Barring a complete collapse in September AND a big-time month from somebody else, Derek Jeter is going to win the AL Silver Slugger Award for shortstop this season.  As a 38-year-old that is an incredible feat by itself, and it becomes even more impressive when you consider that Jeter isn't backing into the award by any means with his .323/.364/.448 (.354 wOBA) batting line this season.  In fact, put Jeter up against all the SS in the National League and the only one with a chance to beat him in the Silver Slugger category would be Ian Desmond.

Jeter has been absolutely brilliant this season, and has been excellent with the bat for over a calendar year now.  With the way things ended in 2010, it looked like Jeter was going to become an anchor on the lineup and the payroll when his new deal was signed.  With the way the negotiations went leading up to Jeter signing that new deal, it begs the question of whether or not Cash's public tactics served as a motivating factor for Jeter to improve his game.  It's not analytical, and there's no way to prove it, but the idea just popped into my head the other night and I think there might be some legitimacy to it.

To Slump Or Not To Slump...

(One of the few guys holding up his end with the stick lately.  Courtesy of The AP)

That is the question right now.  The offense has been maddeningly inconsistent of late, with the last 2 weeks of play being littered with too many men left on base, too many failures to capitalize with RISP, all-or-nothing production from the middle of the order, and a percentage of runs coming on HR that will only fuel the MSM talk about the Yankees "relying too much" on the longball.  In the past 2 weeks, the Yankees have gone 7-6, starting with an inspiring 3-1 series against the Rangers and ending with a 2-4 dud of a road trip to Chicago and Cleveland.  The pitching hasn't been all that steady either, but received a much needed shot in the arm with CC's return on Friday night.  I know the offense is dealing with its injury problems as well, but it just seems like these guys can't get on the same page and can't decide if they want to break out or slump.  It's frustrating.

Game 127 Wrap-Up: NYY 4 CLE 2

(200 non-HRs and counting.  Courtesy of The AP)

This road trip officially became a bad one after Saturday night's loss, so the Yankees would really only be putting lipstick on a pig with a win yesterday.  But a little bit of lipstick to make the pig a 2-4 pig instead of a 1-5 would still be a good thing and still help maintain the division lead.  The Yanks are getting to the point where the magic number in the division is worth paying attention to, and every win helps cut it down.  Freddy Garcia was back on the hill yesterday, trying to keep the lefty-heavy Cleveland lineup at bay for a third time in the series.

Game Notes:

- The bottom of the order hasn't been carrying their weight lately, but they were responsible for getting the scoring started in the 2nd.  Eric Chavez led off with a single, Raul Ibanez walked, Ichiro drove Chavez in with a single, and the top of the order drove in 2 more for a 3-0 lead.

- Each of the first 3 innings for Freddy was an adventure, but he overcame a passed ball on a strikeout in the 2nd and an error in the 3rd to keep Cleveland off the scoreboard.

- After a 1-2-3 4th inning, Garcia cracked with 2 outs in the 5th, allowing 4 straight baserunners and 2 runs before giving way to Boone Logan to get out of the inning.  It was a short outing for Freddy, and

- Curtis Granderson helped boost the lead back out with a solo HR in the top of the 6th off of Tony Sipp.  In doing so, Granderson reached a milestone that few non-HR hitters do by hitting his 200th career bomb.

- There was another good chance in the 7th after a Nick Swisher double and intentional walk to Robinson Cano, but Mark Teixeira struck out to end the inning.  The free pass was a good sign that Cano is starting to break out but a bad sign if it means pitchers are willing to face Teix right now.

- With an off day Thursday and Kuroda's CG Saturday, the bullpen aces were well-rested and Joe rode them to victory.  Logan pitched 1.2 innings of scoreless ball, David Robertson backed him up with 1.1 scoreless, and Rafael Soriano went 1.1 for the save.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Game 126 Wrap-Up: CLE 3 NYY 1

(Think he wanted that pitch back?  Courtesy of The AP)

They had made some improvements in this area after the All Star break, but the Yankees' RISP Fail issues are starting to creep up again and they're just as frustrating as ever.  They had ample opportunities to blow Friday night's game open and couldn't do it, and they had ample opportunities to put runs on the board in support of Hiroki Kuroda last night and couldn't do it.  Kuroda has been the benefactor of better run support at times this season, which was to be expected going from the Dodgers' lineup to the Yankees', but he got nothing last night and ended up the tough luck loser after a bad 1st inning.

Game Notes:

- It was clear that something was off with Kuroda in the 1st inning last night.  He hit Jason Kipnis to start the game, walked Shin-Soo Choo, and gave up a 3-run HR to Michael Brantley in the bottom of the 1st.  Kuroda also put 2 runners on base in the 2nd, and didn't have command of his sinker.

- Justin Masterson, who has been on the wrong side of some Yankee beatings before, held the offense down through the first 3 innings.  The only baserunner the Yankees got was on an error, and that was immediately erased by an Eric Chavez GIDP to end the 2nd.

- Kuroda got it together after the early struggles, working the next 3 innings scoreless and allowing only 1 hit, a double that was erased by a Russell Martin pick-off throw to second.

- The lineup finally scored in the 6th inning, but hardly in the fashion they would have liked given the situation.  They loaded the bases with nobody out and got 1 run on a Mark Teixeira sac fly, then they loaded the bases again with a walk and stranded all 3 runners.  BABIP luck is a bitch.

- His 1st inning was uncharacteristically bad, but Kuroda was absolutely money after that.  He ended up throwing an 8-inning complete game, giving up just 3 more hits, 1 more walk, 0 runs, and striking out 5 in his final 7 innings of work.

- The offense just flat out did nothing to help Kuroda.  They loaded the bases again in the 7th inning, this time with 2 outs, and Teix popped up to strand 'em all again.  The top of the order did their best to set the table, but nobody was able to drive them in.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

RIP 2012 Fraud Sawx

It's pretty much been a done deal since late last night, but I wasn't going to take any chances gloating until everything was officially official:

"The Dodgers and Red Sox have officially completed a massive nine-player blockbuster trade that sends Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, and Nick Punto to Los Angeles for James Loney and four prospects.

The four prospects are right-hander Allen Webster, infielder Ivan De Jesus, outfielder/first baseman Jerry Sands, and right-hander Rubby De La Rosa."

I expected it to be a disaster with that group and Bobby V in charge of them this season, but even I didn't expect it to take less than 5 months for it to unravel like this.  It's just delicious.  Now that fugazi fanbase can put their pink hats away and turn their attention to the Patriots like they always do.

Game 125 Wrap-Up: NYY 3 CLE 1

("CANDY BARS!!!!!"  Courtesy of Getty Images)

I know it was against the Indians, whose lineup is lefty-heavy and shitty, but I'll tell you this right now.  If CC Sabathia is going to stay healthy and pitch like he did last night for the next 2 months, the Yankees are going to be just fine.  They've been very uneven in their starting rotation for a while now, in part because of CC's second DL trip, but having him back in that 1-spot with Kuroda behind them makes the rotation a lot deeper and a lot better.  I still have my concerns about that elbow barking again after another few starts, but CC gave no reason to be worried about him last night.  He was terrific.

Game Notes:

- The Yankee lineup rudely welcome Corey Kluber to the party with a pair of doubles by Derek Jeter and Nick Swisher to start the game and give New York a 1-0.  After a walk to Robinson Cano and a visit to the mound after just 3 batters, Kluber was able to settle down and pitch.

- Jeter took a fastball from Kluber off the helmet the next time he came to the plate in the 2nd inning, and he was not happy about it.  Whether it was intentional or not, it was a bit of a bush league move by Kluber, who's a nobody, and Jeter had a right to be hot.

- CC worked perfectly through the first 3 innings, retiring every Indian hitter on either a groundout or strikeout.  His 4-seamer command was back, and he was mixing his sinker and slider beautifully late in the count to get swings and misses and bad contact.

- Sabathia made one mistake all night, and it was in the bottom of the 4th when he threw a 2-0 sinker that stayed up to Asdrubal Cabrera.  It was 1 pitch after he threw behind Cabrera for ball 2, likely as attempted payback for Jeter, and Cabrera hit it for a home run to center to tie the game at 1.

- The Yanks did nothing after the 1st, but they certainly had their chances to blow the game open.  They loaded the bases in the 2nd, put runners on second and third with 1 out in the 5th, and came away with no runs both times.

- The lineup finally came back around in the 7th once Cleveland went to their bullpen, and it was Jeter and Swish again.  Jeter singled to start the inning, Swish drove him in with a 2-run HR to give the Yankees the 3-1 lead that they would not relinquish.

- CC pitched into the 8th, and D-Rob and Soriano took it from there.  Soriano got himself into some trouble in the 9th, but worked out of it without allowing a run, giving the Yankees a win they needed to start this series off on the right foot.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Friday Afternoon Linkapalooza: 8/24

As an avid, dedicated beer drinker, there's nothing more disappointing to me than watching bartenders empty the last remnants of a keg into a pitcher and just dump it when they're changing kegs over.  A couple of us from the office went to a bar for lunch today and I watched the bartender fill 4 large plastic pitchers with Sam's Summer and pour it right down the drain.  It broke my heart.  If I was a cat, I would have lost 4 lives just from witnessing that tragedy.  We offered to drink them, I even offered to pay for them, but she was having none of it.  I don't know if there's liability in that or something, but it just seems like a waste of money for the bar and a waste of precious alcohol for me when bartenders do that.  It might be a little skanky from being the ass of the keg, but it's still beer damnit!  Now onto the links!

- On Sunday, Josh Norris of Minor Matters was back with some more anonymous scouting reports on top Yankee prospects, this time guys from High-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton.

- On Monday, William Juliano of The Captain's Blog crunched the numbers to show just how good Hiroki Kuroda has been at The Stadium this season.

- Bryan V of The Greedy Pinstripes gave his thoughts on Joba Chamberlain's future and why he sees Joba as a Yankee long-term.

- On Tuesday, Chris Carelli of Yanks Go Yard came up with the best idea for how to react to Derek Jeter's fantastic season, just sit back and enjoy it.

- Rob Steingall of Pinstripe Alley wondered about Michael Pineda and whether he will become the next Carl Pavano-type bust.  I hate that a comparison like that has to be already, but it's not entirely unwarranted.

- On Wednesday, Mike Ashmore of Thunder Thoughts caught up with former top Yankee prospect Dioner Navarro, now with the Reds.

- Greg Corcoran of Bronx Baseball Daily scored an interview with second base prospect David Adams.

- Got a pair from the TYA team.  On Wedneday, Mike Eder investigated Ichiro's slight power surge since joining the Yankees and the possible connections to Kevin Long's coaching and philosophy.

- On Thursday, EJ Fagan made a strong case for the Yankees getting in on any possible future trade action involving Elvis Andrus.  More than any other scenario, that move would make the most sense in replacing Jeter at short.

- Brien Jackson of IIATMS formulated a very intelligent and logical reaction to Skip Bayless' troll-tastic insinuation that Jeter could be juicing.

- Fishjam25 of Yankees Fans Unite looked at how the Yankees' 2014 payroll budget plans could be affected by the really poor 2012 results of their young crop of pitchers.

- Mike Axisa of RAB commented on Phil Hughes' increased use of his changeup in his last 2 starts, something that almost all of us have been calling for for some time now.

- It's not Yankee-related, but if you missed Mike Francesa's show-opening, voice-cracking, screaming-at-the-top-of-his-lungs rant about how horrible the Mets have been, do yourself a favor and check it out.  It's 10 minutes long, but worth every second.  I actually thought he was going to keel over in the booth at one point.

- On Friday, SJK of NoMaas laid out the landscape in Yankeeland right now and tried to pinpoint exactly what is and isn't the cause for their current struggles.

For the Friday Jam I'm going back to an old standby and all-time favorite, Queens of The Stone Age.  It's been a while since I've used them and there's certainly no shortage of awesome QOTSA material to choose from.  Today we're going with "A Song for the Dead," which was never released as a single but is still arguably one of the top 3-5 greatest QOTSA songs ever.  The fact that I missed their Sunday set at PJ20 last year when they played this song makes me sad.

Enjoy your weekends, everybody.

Off Day Thoughts & Afterthoughts

(Hope that elbow is 100%.  Courtesy of The AP)

Yesterday was a much needed off day for the Yankees as they traveled to Cleveland for a weekend series against Harry Doyle and the Indians, whose manager Manny Acta just got the dreaded vote of confidence from upper management.  If there's a team that could help the Yankees get on track, it's probably one like the Indians who are playing poorly enough to get their manager the VOC.  And people, the Yankees need to get on track.

The 10-game division lead has evaporated down to just 2.5 games after Tampa Bay's win last night.  You have to give credit where credit is due, Tampa is playing out of their minds good right now.  Everybody in the rotation is pitching lights out, the offense is better with Evan Longoria and Matt Joyce back, and they're going out and winning game after game while the Yankees struggle to put 3 decent innings together.  This last month is shaping up to be an exciting one, and hopefully the injuries haven't caught up to the Yanks so much that they lose what should have been an insurmountable lead.  But before they get started in Cleveland tonight, I'd like to take this time normally reserved for game recaps to empty the old memory bank.

Thursday, August 23, 2012


It's not a HUGE breaking story, I think we could all see this coming, but the Yankees have announced that Nova will be placed on the 15-day DL with what's being called inflammation of his right rotator cuff.

Via Chad Jennings, the plan for now is to treat Nova with medicine and rest, and he will not throw or even pick up a baseball for at least 5 days.  Given the injury problems they've already had this year, and the season-ending nature of Michael Pineda's shoulder injury, it wouldn't surprise me if that "no throw" ban goes much longer than just 5 days.  You can't take risks with a rotator cuff.

Nova going to the DL opens up a roster spot for CC to come off tomorrow, so at least there won't have to be any funky roster moves to accommodate the big fella, but this is still hardly good news for Nova or the Yankees.  After a promising 2011, Nova crashed back to earth this year and now he's dealing with a shoulder injury.  Major bummer.

If any new details come out later, I'll update as needed.

Ivan Nova's Shoulder Injury And Timing

(Courtesy of The AP)

As if the organization hasn't had enough problems with injuries to pitchers this season, that list got lengthened by 1 yesterday when it was reported that Ivan Nova felt something "pull" in his right shoulder during his 6th and final inning of work the other night.  Nova is already scheduled to go back to New York for tests and will miss at least his next start on Monday.  Beyond that it's unknown right now, but I imagine we'll be getting answers to those questions and find out if Nova needs a trip to the DL in the next day or so.  In the context of everything else that's going on with the starting rotation and the team right now, what does this injury to Nova mean?

Game 124 Wrap-Up: CHW 2 NYY 1

(The only guy in the lineup to do something meaningful last night.  Courtesy of The AP)

Facing a young, hard-throwing pitcher with a funky delivery who they'd never faced before wasn't a winning formula on paper for the Yankees.  Chris Sale has nasty stuff and he's proven multiple times this season that when he's on he can be unhittable.  Well he was on last night and there wasn't much the Yankee lineup could do against him.  Phil Hughes, who's been "meh" at best lately, had his work cut out for him last night to keep the Yankees in the game, but he did have a good history against the White Sox going in.  The stage was set for a pitchers' duel, and that's exactly what we got.

Game Notes:

- Hughes was a little uneven in the 1st, when he walked 2 batters, but he righted the ship quickly with some well-located fastballs and a 7-pitch 2nd.

- Hughes got into some more trouble in the 3rd inning when he gave up a leadoff double to Gordon Beckham.  He worked out of it, but not before giving up 1 run on a Kevin Youkilis sac fly.

- As you would expect, Sale started off dominating the Yankee lineup.  Mark Teixeira hit a fastball for a double in the 2nd, Robinson Cano hit a hanging slider for a double in the 4th, and that was all Sale allowed through a scoreless 4.  His stuff was nasty and he was making a lot of guys look bad.

- It took a third time through the lineup for something to click, at least for Derek Jeter, who took Sale deep on a fastball up with 1 out in the 6th to tie the game at 1.  It was Jeter's third straight game with a HR and the fourth straight HR he pulled to left field.  Who was saying something about that trend yesterday??  Hmmmmm...

- Almost on cue, Hughes came back in the bottom half of the 6th with a meatball that Alex Rios hit for a solo HR.  It was wildly disappointing, as Hughes actually pitched very well overall through 7 innings, allowing just the 2 runs and 5 hits.

- Sale was just too much for the Yankee lineup, striking out 13 and only allowing the 3 previously mentioned hits in 7.2 IP before turning it over to the bullpen, who finished things off with ease.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Derek Jeter's Sudden Pull Power

It's been another monster offensive month for Derek Jeter so far in August.  After predictably cooling down in May after his scorching hot April, and dipping down to a .608 OPS in June, Jeter started picking the batting average back up in July with a .346 month.  Since July has changed over to August, Jeter has been on an absolute tear, nearly matching the numbers he posted in April.  Jeter's rocking a .386/.407/.602 line in 92 August plate appearances, good for a .428 wOBA, a .324 season batting average that has him sitting 3rd in the American League, and some MSM whispers about Jeter garnering some votes on MVP ballots at the end of the year for the kind of season he's had.

The MVP talk is a bit of a stretch, but Jeter has been simply fantastic this year.  He's once again carrying the offense through an up-and-down stretch where the Yankees are battling injuries and slumps, and continuing to punch Father Time in the face while he does it.  In the past week I've noticed a new wrinkle to Jeter's game that hasn't been seen much in years.  Believe it or not, Jeter has started hitting the ball to left field with authority again.  Take a look.

Middle Relief Regression Is A Bummer

(They haven't all been "Booooooone" chants this month.  Courtesy of The AP)

Considering the injuries that they've had to deal with, the job the Yankee bullpen has done this season has been nothing short of outstanding.  Rafael Soriano has been even better than he was in his standout 2010 season that inspired the top Yankee brass to offer him his big contract, D-Rob has been quietly awesome again, and there have been big contributions from some very unexpected sources to help soak up middle innings while other guys were out.  It is those middle innings that have become a problem this month, as the 'pen has regressed to a 4.29/3.44/3.55 line in 50.1 combined innings of work.  The problem has been the bulk of the guys pitching in front of D-Rob and Soriano starting to struggle, leaving the pickings slim and risky when Joe has to manage the 6th and 7th innings.  The Yankees didn't make a move to add bullpen depth at the trade deadline, counting on the return of Joba Chamberlain being a stabilizing factor.  That hasn't happened and now the middle relief corps is turning into a weakness at the wrong time of the season.

Game 123 Wrap-Up: CHW 7 NYY 3

(Yeesh.  Courtesy of The AP)

Ivan Nova is a bit of a black hole right now.  He's got a 7.28 ERA in his 8 post-ASB starts, he followed up a great start against Toronto with another stinker the last time out, and if the pitching staff wasn't so decimated by injuries right now, he'd probably be out of a job as a starter.  Nova's problems have been consistent all year- inability to locate his fastball down in the zone, leaving his slider up too often, and just generally making bad pitches in very hittable spots in the zone that hitters pummel- and they were all present again last night against the White Sox.  With the way he's been going these last few months, it's now worth asking if Nova should keep his rotation spot when CC comes back on Friday.

Game Notes:

- Derek Jeter has been on an absolute tear lately and he kept it going right off the bat with the leadoff HR to start the game.  The Yankees loaded the bases behind Jeter and pushed another run across to make it 2-0 in the 1st.

- It wasn't a great start for Nova, but he managed to limit his trouble to just 2 runs through 4 innings.  He was giving up a lot of hard contact, his command wasn't great, but he wasn't getting killed.

- That changed in the 5th inning when Nova loaded the bases on a double, walk, single and then watched everybody trot home after he hung a to Kevin Youklis for a grand slam and a 6-2 White Sox lead.

- Meanwhile, Francisco Liriano gathered himself up and shut the Yankees down through the next innings.  He struck out batters ( on the ) and limited the Yankees to just one baserunner reaching 2nd base.

- The one good thing the Yankee lineup did do was work Liriano, who left after 6 innings and 108 pitches.  Russell Martin welcomed Jesse Crain to the game with a HR to lead off the top of the 7th, but the top of the order behind him did nothing to keep the rally going and it stayed 6-3.

- With a pretty taxed bullpen out there, Joe went to Derek Lowe to soak up the late innings.  Lowe got dinked and dunked on some soft hits and gave up a run in the 8th, but he still looked OK out there.  OK wasn't good enough last night and the Yankees had their second straight loss.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Any Chance Of Overworking Hiroki?

As I was enjoying the latest pitching gem from Hiroki Kuroda's 2012 Greatest Hits on Sunday night, something the ESPN broadcast team commented on piqued my interest, and not in the normal way where I immediately run to the computer to bash them for their idiocy. In their praise of Kuroda, they made multiple references to his age (37) while discussing the durability he's shown in his career and rattling off the more noteworthy numbers speaking to both his durability and dominance this season. Francona and Hershiser then went on to discuss the option of resting Kuroda down the stretch to keep him and his 37-year-old body as fresh as possible for the postseason. That got me thinking, with the load he's had to shoulder already this season, and the injuries that have befallen the other 30-and-over Yankees' starters, is there any chance of Kuroda being overworked and being at risk of some drop-off in the playoffs?

Game 122 Wrap-Up: CHW 9 NYY 6

(High fives all around for this guy.  Courtesy of The AP)

- Derek Jeter was a boss again (4-5, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 R, 1 RBI) and carried the offense.

- Mark Teixeira rejoined the lineup and had a couple hits and a couple ribbies.

- Freddy Garcia shat the bed hard in the 5th inning after a really good first 4.

- The bullpen got their collective heads kicked in in the later innings.

- I got really shitfaced at the Brewers-Cubs game last night and didn't wake up early enough to recap and write about the game.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Inside Robbie Cano's Slump

(Need to see more of this follow through.  Courtesy of Getty Images)

While Eric Chavez, Derek Jeter, and Nick Swisher have been carrying the offensive torch for the last week plus, the keyest of key middle-of-the-lineup bats, Robinson Cano, has been in a serious slump.  With A-Rod already on the shelf, Teix back nursing his wrist injury, and C-Grand only recently starting to break out his own slump, the middle of the lineup could really use Cano's production and has been a bit suspect without it, even as the Yankees have gone 6-3 in the 9 games since Cano started struggling at the plate.  In those 9 games dating back to August 11th, Cano is just 2-24 with 2 R, 2 RBI (none since 8/12), 5 BB, and 6 K.  What's been going on with Cano during these 9 games that killed his offensive momentum so quickly?  Let's take a look.

Game 121 Wrap-Up: NYY 4 BOS 1

(I got your left-handed power right here.  Courtesy of Getty Images)

It's been an interesting season for Hiroki Kuroda against the Fraud Sawx.  He didn't face them until July and actually faced them twice last month.  In his most recent outing, he pitched very well (8 IP, 2 ER) and got a no-decision, and in the outing earlier in the month he pitched very poorly and still got the win.  That start on July 6th was the last time Kuroda had a "bad" outing, and he's been almost lights out since then (43.2 IP, 7 ER in his last 6 starts).  He completely outmatched the potent Texas Ranger lineup on Tuesday, and last night he had the hammer in his hand to drive the last nail into the coffin of the Fraud Sawx's season.

Game Notes:

- The Yankees didn't waste any time getting to Josh BeckettDerek Jeter led off the game with a double to deep center and came around to score on Curtis Granderson's 2-out double to right to make it 1-0 Yanks after 1.

- They manufactured a run in the bottom of the 3rd on a Jeter double, Nick Swisher walk, a really smart double steal that took some pressure off a slumping Robinson Cano and opened the door for Jeter to trot home on a passed ball a few pitches later.  It was 2-0 Yanks through 3 and they were working Beckett hard.

- While this was going on offensively, Kuroda was picking up right where he left off against Texas on the mound.  He had the slider working, the sinker working, had good command of his fastball, and allowed just 1 hit and 0 runs through the first 4 innings.

- After seemingly pretending to foul off a similar pitch in ugly fashion the pitch before, Ichiro Suzuki squared up a 2-2 fastball that was up in the zone from Beckett and hit it for his 2nd Yankee HR to make it 3-0 Yanks after 4.

- There was no pretending the next time Ichiro came up in the 6th.  He got a thigh-high fastball from Beckett and he drove it out into the right field seats for his second consecutive homer on the night.

- There were signs that Kuroda was tiring and starting to lose his command a bit at the end of the 6th, and it became more apparent in the 7th when he threw a bad slider that Adrian Gonzalez hit for a solo HR to make it 4-1.  But Kuroda got out of the inning without further damage.

- I guess Hiroki had enough left in the tank, because Joe let him come out for the 8th and he mowed them down.  Soriano handled the 9th with ease, striking out Gonzalez on a nasty slider to end the game and the Fraud Sawx season.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Kiley McDaniel Scouts Ty Hensley

(Courtesy of The AP)

Kiley McDaniel of ESPN is back at it scouting Yankees prospects.  He's already covered the biggest names in the system in the A-ball levels (Sanchez, Williams, Austin, Heathcott); this past week he dropped down a few more levels to the GCL to take a look at 2012 1st-round pick Ty Hensley.  McDaniel brings the first real good scouting report we've seen on Hensley since he finally signed, joined the GCL Yanks, and started pitching.  It's an Insider Only piece, but it gives plenty of reasons to be high on Hensley's potential as a top-tier starter.  The highlights of McDaniel's report and my take after the jump.

Melky Cabrera: Master Internet Criminal

I didn't say anything about the Melky Cabrera steroids story this week for 3 reasons: 1) I wasn't all that surprised by it, 2) I didn't really care, and 3) He doesn't play for the Yankees anymore, so I wasn't going to start talking about him until he was officially a free agent.

But with the latest part of this story breaking today, now it's time for me to get involved.  This latest news is much more up my alley...

"The scheme began unfolding in July as Cabrera and his representatives scrambled to explain a spike in the former Yankee’s testosterone levels. Cabrera associate Juan Nunez, described by the player’s agents, Seth and Sam Levinson, as a “paid consultant” of their firm but not an “employee,” is alleged to have paid $10,000 to acquire the phony website. The idea, apparently, was to lay a trail of digital breadcrumbs suggesting Cabrera had ordered a supplement that ended up causing the positive test, and to rely on a clause in the collectively bargained drug program that allows a player who has tested positive to attempt to prove he ingested a banned substance through no fault of his own."

Really, Melky?  That was your plan?  Just hop on the old interwebs, get a sweet new Go Daddy domain name like Danica Patrick, and boom, problem solved!  It's brilliant.  It's no wonder you got caught in the first place.  You're an idiot.

P.S.- If they didn't name this phony company "Vandelay Industries," they did it wrong.

Game 120 Wrap-Up: BOS 4 NYY 1

(It was that kind of day for the Yankee bats.  Courtesy of The AP)

Things have been going prettay, prettay, prettay good for David Phelps this season, and he had a chance to audition on a national stage yesterday against the Yankees' greatest rival.  Things haven't been so hot for Jawn Lestah this season, and he had a chance to get his head kicked in again on a national stage yesterday.  Somewhat surprisingly, Lestah brought his A-game and actually carried the Fraud Sawx, something he hasn't done a lot of this season.  Phelps was up to the challenge, and pitched a great game in his own right, just not great enough to win.

Game Notes:

- Phelps made a mistake by hanging a pitch in the top of the 1st to Adrian Gonzalez that turned into a 2-run HR, but other than that he looked good early.  Phelps allowed just 1 hit and threw just 28 pitches in the next 3 innings, striking out 3 and retiring 7 in a row to end the 4th.

- The biggest problem was the Yankee lineup's inability to put enough hits together to do damage against Jon Lester.  They had at least 1 baserunner in each of the first 5 innings but had only Curtis Granderson's solo HR to show for it.

- It's never good to get burned by the bottom of the order, but that's what happened to Phelps in the 5th.  He gave up a double to Nick Punto (a near unforgivable offense) and new Yankee killer Pedro Ciriaco came around to score to make it 3-1 Sawx.

- The Yankees blew a golden opportunity in the bottom of the 7th after Granderson doubled and then moved to third on a groundout to give the Yankees a chance to score a run on an out.  But Jayson Nix and Ichiro Suzuki couldn't drive him in and it stayed a 3-1 game.

- Ciriaco continued to kill the Yankees in the top of the 9th, doubling Scott Podsednik to third with no outs and allowing to score an insurance run against Cody Eppley.  Ciriaco's batting line against the Yankees is unreal.

- It was a day of missed opportunities for the offense.  They put at least 1 runner on base in every inning except the 6th, and put the leadoff runner on in 4 innings without scoring in any of them.  Yesterday was a day that showed just how shallow that lineup can be without A-Rod and Teix.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

On Teix's Wrist Injury

Small picture, Mark Teixeira's continued wrist problems are a nuisance but not the end of the world.  He responded well to the first bit of rest and the cortisone shot and was able to come back and be relatively productive for the last 2 weeks (.259/.328/.463  in 59 PA) in a time where the middle of the Yankee batting order has been without some of it's important bats. 

Big picture, it could become more of a problem if allowed to turn into something that lingers.  Teix has been productive this month, but not nearly to the degree that he was in July.  His power is down, he isn't walking as much (8.2 %), and less than 3 weeks after the initial injury he's back to experiencing the same pain and inflammation as before and missing games.  It's starting to look like this is something more than just inflammation and soreness, and Teix playing every day can't be a good thing for it.  He said he originally hurt himself on a swing, so I imagine it can't feel too good for him every time he swings the bat.  All the initial tests showed no structural damage to the wrist, but what's to say that he isn't doing damage to it now or at least risking damaging it.  Is it really worth the risk of having a broken Teixeira in the playoffs or even losing him to not treat this injury properly?

Game 119 Wrap-Up: NYY 6 BOS 4

(That swing doesn't suck.  Courtesy of The AP)

Weather looked like it was going to be a factor in last night's game from the get go, and it was a little bit early, but the Yankees found out before the game that Mark Teixeira wasn't going to be.  The re-emergence of his wrist inflammation has to be a concern for the Yankees, and as they have for most of this season, they found themselves in a shorthanded situation.  But as has happened most of the time this season, the rest of the lineup stepped up without one of their big pieces and got the job done to support a pretty darn good Phil Hughes, who had one bad inning in an otherwise dominant start.

Game Notes:

- Franklin Morales didn't get off to the start he wanted, giving up 3 solo HR in the first 2 innings.  Nick Swisher, Curtis Granderson, and Russell Martin all teed him up to make it 3-0 Yanks.

- Hughes got off to a great start through the first 2 innings, but it came off the rails quickly after he threw a ball away in the 3rd.  To a certain degree, I can understand him getting rattled because that was an AWFUL throw.  It put runners on the corners with no outs and ended with Dustin Pedrooyyyyahhhh hitting a 3-run homer to put Bahhston on top 4-3.

- The Captain continued to rake from the leadoff spot, hitting a 1-out homer in the bottom of the 5th to tie the game up at 4-4 and give him an even 250 for his career.  Impressively, it was on an inside fastball that he turned on and smoked into the left field bleachers.

- To his credit, Hughes shook off the bad 3rd inning, got it together, and worked through the next 4 innings without issue.  He gave up just 2 hits, got 5 of his last 6 outs on the ground, and got a boost from Jayson Nix's 6th inning single that gave the Yankees the lead back.

- One of Hughes' problems lately has been predictability in his pitch selection.  He has gotten away from his changeup, but he threw it a lot last night (29 times out of 106 pitches) and it was very effective to righties.

- Swish gave the Yankees their first run in the 1st and he gave them their last in the 7th on his second solo homer of the night.  He hit one from each side of the plate and is really starting to look locked in from each side.

- Hughes did the job through 7, and D-Rob and Sour Puss worked the 8th and 9th with relative ease to secure the win.  1 down, 2 to go to end the Fraud Sawx's season.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Friday Afternoon Linkapalooza: 8/17

No stories or random thoughts today.  I'm just looking forward to being able to watch Yanks-Sawx on Sunday night.  Believe it or not, I actually didn't watch either of the ESPN games against the Rangers this week.  Well, I caught part of Wednesday night's game at a bar I was at with some people, but I missed every single scoring play so it's hard to say I really watched it.  Now onto the links!

- On Monday, Mike Jaggers-Radolf of TYA looked at the decrease in Derek Jeter's OBP this season and how it's tied to a change in approach at the plate as he's gotten older.

- On Tuesday, Josh Norris had some good quotes from a scout who gave his opinion on a few of the bigger-name A-ball prospects.  Surprising take on Tyler Austin.

- William Juliano of The Captain's Blog commented on The Captain's historically-good offensive season and the potential for it to hurt the 2014 payroll plans.

- SJK of NoMaas got the exclusive scoop on the infamous Adrian Gonzalez text that started the latest Fraud Sawx calamity.

- Chris Carelli of Yanks Go Yard looked towards September and the potentially deep bullpen that could exist when rosters expand.  I wouldn't count on much, if anything, from Feliciano, but hope springs eternal.

- Steven Goldman of Pinstripe Alley mused on A-Rod's contract and the absurdity of the idea that the Yankees should be surprised by A-Rod's decline.

- On Wednesday, Mike Axisa of RAB examined Curtis Granderson's continuing slump and the potential root causes for it.

- On Thursday, Brien Jackson of IIATMS weighed in on the Melky Cabrera suspension and commented on the flawed logic in suggesting that the MLBPA "has to do something" to address guys who get caught/punished.

- El duque of It Is High... said exactly what I was thinking in relation to the upcoming Yanks-Sawx series when he talked about the opportunity to end the Sawx's season in August this weekend.

- Bill Ballew of had a nice little write-up on Dante Bichette, Jr., and took a much more positive tone with Bichette's tough first year in a full-season league.

- On Friday, Curtis Clark of Bronx Baseball Daily unveiled his latest AL East power rankings.  No surprise as to which team was at the top.

For the Friday jam I'm going back to the pick I originally had planned for last week before Deftones showed up on scene.  It's "Wires" by Red Fang and it's a completely kickass rock song.  It works for every situation.  You can rock out to it, hang out to it, cook out to it, chill out to it, smoke out to it.  It's a 5-tool rock song, the Matt Kemp of rock songs.  The video ain't bad either.

Enjoy your weekends, everybody.