Game 20: Yankees at Orioles

After losing rather miserably yesterday, the sun came up again today and the Yankees will get the chance to play again tonight. We are going to see the same lineup as the lineup from Opening Night, and for that I am happy. Here’s a look at it via Chad Jennings…

SS Derek Jeter

DH Nick Johnson

1B Mark Teixeira

3B Alex Rodriguez

2B Robinson Cano

C Jorge Posada

CF Curtis Granderson

RF Nick Swisher

LF Brett Gardner

LHP CC Sabathia


Phil Hughes battles it out

Last night Phil Hughes clearly didn’t have good control. Many inexperienced pitchers would usually just get hammered if they didn’t have their best control or stuff. However, Hughes made adjustments. He knew he wasn’t on top of his game, and he made in game adjustments with the help of Dave Eiland and in the end, he threw 5.2 innings and only allowed one run. To me that is impressive. Pitchers are going to through several games a season without their best stuff or their best control, and how they do in those starts is what separates the good pitchers from the great pitchers. Look at Andy Pettitte, there are many times he doesn’t have his best stuff but still pitches a great game. If Hughes can do this successfully, he could become a front-end starter.

Bullpen faltering

Lately, the Yankee bullpen hasn’t been too great. Now we all know how volatile bullpens are and how quickly they can turn around. However, I have a couple suggestions to help get it going in the right direction. First of all, call up Mark Melancon and get him some meaningful innings. At this point, it doesn’t look like Chan Ho Park is returning soon so a good right handed reliever, which Melancon certainly has the potential to be, would be very useful. To make room for Melancon on the roster, I would probably send Boone Logan back to AAA, although he hasn’t been bad. Secondly, I would like to see David Robertson used in a slightly different role. So far this season, Girardi has been keen on bringing in Robertson in tough situations with men on base. I feel Robertson may be better suited to be utilized if he comes in to start innings. These are just my suggestions, and they could or could not be a good idea.

All Star Game rules modified

Certain rules for the All Star Game have been changed. They will go into effect this year. Here is a quick rundown of the changes…

  • The DH will now be used in all cases regardless of whether the NL is home or the AL is home. That means no more pitchers batting (yay!). The AL DH will still be selected by the fans, but the NL DH will be selected by the NL manager.
  • Any pitcher who is selected for the All Star Game but pitched the previous Sunday will not be able to be used. Instead, he will be replaced on the roster. However, the pitcher replaced will still be recognized as an All Star.
  • Instead of the typical 33 man roster, there will now be 34 players. The extra player will be a position player, not a pitcher.

Overall, I like these rule changes especially the DH one, but the rules can be made better in my opinion.

Off Day Musings (2010 1st Edition)

“Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the White House”

Earlier today, the remaining Yankees from the 2009 World Series Champions team visited the White House. President Obama and the Yankees celebrated last year’s championship, but focused on Yankee tradition rather than wins and losses. I feel President had an excellent speech today discussing the Yankee’s tradition and service, while throwing in some humor occasionally. Here is an excerpt of a few of my favorite things he said, but to read the whole speech head on over to www.whitehouse.gov

Now, it’s been nine years since your last title -– which must have felt like an eternity for Yankees fans.  I think other teams would be just fine with a spell like that.  (Laughter.)  The Cubs, for example.  (Laughter.)  But this is a team that goes down to spring training every year expecting to win it all — and more often than not, you guys get pretty close.  Of course, if I had Rivera, I’d get pretty close, too.  (Laughter.)  My White Sox would get close every year.  That attitude, that success, has always made the Yankees easy to love — and, let’s face it, easy to hate as well.  (Laughter.)  For a White Sox fan like me, it’s painful to watch Mariano’s cutter when it’s against my team, or to see the Yankees wrap up the pennant while the Sox are struggling on the South Side.  Although I do remember 2005, people -– (laughter) — so don’t get too comfortable.  (Laughter.)

(snip)

But what people tend to forget -– especially after watching their teams lose -– is that being a Yankee is as much about character as it is about performance; as much about who you are as what you do.  Being successful in New York doesn’t come easy, and it’s not for everybody.  It takes a certain kind of player to thrive in the pressure cooker of Yankee Stadium -– somebody who is poised and professional, and knows what it takes to wear the pinstripes.  It takes somebody who appreciates how lucky he is, and who feels a responsibility for those who are less fortunate.

President Obama went on to talk about Mark Teixeira, Jorge Posada, and Derek Jeter in particular. Make you check out everything he said.

Chris Garcia undergoes Tommy John surgery

Via Josh Norris we find out that Yankee prospect, Chris Garcia, underwent Tommy John surgery on April 20th. This is Garcia’s second Tommy John surgery in a four year period. This guy has sort of been forgotten the past few years because of his inability to stay healthy, but he was considered one of the best arms in the Yankee system and if he can stay healthy after this last surgery, he could easily retake his spot as one of the top Yankee prospects.

“Take your time”

David Biderman of the Wall Street Journal recently took a look at how long it took current Yankees to round the bases when they hit a home run. Out of all the current Yankees, A-Rod took the longest to round the bases last year, and Curtis Granderson was the fastest. As Biderman points out, most of A-Rod’s home runs are no doubters so he usually knows he doesn’t have to run hard. On the other hand, someone like Derek Jeter or Curtis Granderson may not always hit no doubters so they have to run fast just in case the ball doesn’t clear the fence.

Game 18: Yankees at Angels

This afternoon, the Yankees will play the rubber game of this three game series against the Angels. If the Yankees do come out victorious today, they will have won their first six series of 2010. That would be pretty impressive. Here is the lineup they will run out today via Chad Jennings

SS Derek Jeter

RF Nick Swisher

1B Mark Teixeira

3B Alex Rodriguez

2B Robinson Cano

DH Jorge Posada

LF Marcus Thames

CF Curtis Granderson

C Francisco Cervelli

RHP Javier Vazquez


Nick Johnson Update

Nick Johnson is not playing today again as he is suffering from a sore back. By resting him again today, he will get three days off (yesterday, today, and tomorrow which is an off day). He is expected back in the lineup on Tuesday.

Chan Ho Park Update

Chan Ho Park who is suffering from a hamstring issue is expected to travel to Tampa. The Yankees and Park hope that the warm weather of Tampa, Florida will help loosen up Park’s hamstring. Park tried the same thing last year when he was hurt  and he claims it helped him.

“The weather was so warm, it helped heal quickly. I felt much better. It is still a little bit tight, so that makes me feel that I’m not ready to throw on the mound. The next couple of days, it’s going to feel much better. Hopefully I’m ready to throw a bullpen next week, and come back right away.”

“Bradenia”

While I think the whole Rodriguez-Braden argument is ridiculously silly, I find this picture created by Flip Flop Fly Ball to be very funny.

I’m sorry for the lack of posts lately, I’ve been pretty busy the past few days and also these West coast games have thrown my schedule out of wack.

Game 13: Yankees at Athletics

For those of you on the East coast staying up to watch some West coast baseball, I’ll do a game post. The Yankees are off to a blazing start winning their first four series of the season for the first time since 1926. This team is obviously very good, but it is way to early to make too much of it. Anyway, here is the starting lineup via Chad Jennings that the Yankees will send out to face southpaw Gio Gonzalez…

SS Derek Jeter

DH Nick Johnson

1B Mark Teixeira

3B Alex Rodriguez

2B Robinson Cano

C Jorge Posada

RF Nick Swisher

CF Curtis Granderson

LF Brett Gardner

RHP Javier Vazquez

Settling down in New York

Curtis Granderson has his own blog and he recently wrote about how he is settling into New York off the field. Check it out here.

Possible draft targets

Mike Axisa of RAB recently took a look at possible draft targets for the Yankees on the high school and collegiate level. You should definitely check these two posts out out.

A trip to the White House

The Yankees are going to visit the White House on April 26th. It should be fun to read the stories about that day when it happens.

CC Hits The Battlefield

Thanks to Zell’s Pinstripe Blog I recently stumbled upon this gem of a video with CC Sabathia starring in a commercial for the video game “Battlefield Bad Company 2″. Check it out if you want to laugh.

There is also a commercial for the video game “Modern Warfare 2″ with Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels in it. It contains some foul language so I won’t post it here on this family website, haha! But, if you are interested you can find it by searching for “Modern Warfare 2 Cole Hamels” on Youtube.

Game 12: Rangers at Yankees

After taking the first two games of this series against the Rangers, the Yankees secured yet another series win. So far they have won the first four series of the year against the Boston Red Sox, the Tampa Rays, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, and now the Texas Rangers. This is the best start the Yankees have gotten off to since 2003 when they went 9-3, and it is the first time since 1926 that they won their first four series. Anyway, as the Yankees look for a sweep of the Rangers on this Sunday afternoon, they will send out the following lineup via Josh Thomson

LF Brett Gardner

DH Nick Johnson

1B Mark Teixeira

3B Alex Rodriguez

2B Robinson Cano

C Jorge Posada

CF Curtis Granderson

RF Nick Swisher

SS Ramiro Pena

LHP Andy Pettitte

No Jeter

Derek Jeter left yesterday’s game in the eight inning and he is not playing today. I think he is sick, not injured, but please do not take my word for it. When I find some more news on him, I’ll update this post.

Update: Jeter is suffering from a head cold according to Josh Thomson.

Nick Johnson, The Walk Machine

Yesterday Nick Johnson walked in a run with the bases loaded. He did the same thing earlier in the year against Boston. In addition, Johnson already has 11 walks while he has only played in 10 games. He is really good at walking and I love it!

A trip back to the 80s…

Park hits the DL; Logan called up

Chan Ho Park was placed on the 15-day DL on Friday with a strained right hamstring. Fortunately, it doesn’t seem to be serious and he should be back soon. For the time being, Boone Logan will occupy Park’s spot in the bullpen.

Who I’m Watching

Check out 161st Street’s “Minor League Affiliates” page to see who I’m keeping an eye on in the Minors and to get links to a bunch of Minor League resources.

Off-Topic Page

I just want to make sure all of you know there is an “Off-Topic” page on 161st Street. Remember, you can use that page to comment when what you want to talk about isn’t related to any recent posts. Also, remember there are no limitations to the Off-Topic page, you can talk about anything you want, it doesn’t even have to be baseball related.

Hughes carries Yankees to series win

Last night the Yankees took the rubber game of this past series against the Angels with the help of Phil Hughes’ arm, and of course the Yankee bats. This post is going to be about Phil Hughes though, so I won’t be diving into the rest of the game.

Last night in his first start of the year Hughes put up the following line…

IP: 5.0  H: 3  BB: 5  SO: 6  ER: 2

Hughes looked very good through his first five innings, except for the pitch that he left up which Hideki Matsui homered on. Through these five innings Hughes walked 4 batters, which got him into trouble at times which brought his pitch count way up. However, he was getting squeezed by the home plate umpire and the Angels are a patient team that will take close pitches. Against a more free-swinging team, Hughes would have pitched even better. You can’t tell by the linescore, but Hughes went back out to start the sixth inning. At this point it looked like he was tiring, but I liked the move to bring him back out. Unfortuiantly, Hughes gave up a single and a walk to the first two batters in the sixth, and Girardi decided it was time to end Hughes’ night at 108 pitches. David Robertson followed Hughes allowed the batter that Hughes had previously allowed a single to score, this is where Hughes’ second earned run came from.

Overall Hughes was very good last night. His release point was consistent, he was consistently hitting 92-94 MPH on the radar gun with his fastball, he was aggressive for most of the game, his cutter had great late life, and his curveball had a very tight break. He only threw his changeup five times, I hope he uses it more often in his next start.

Here is a look at Hughes’ release point…

Basically what you would be looking for with this type of graph is how close the dots representing pitches are. The closer they are together, the more consistent the pitcher's release point was. In this case, Hughes' release point was pretty good.

Here’s a look at Hughes’ pitches…

Here you can see that Hughes threw many pitches in the strike zone which were called balls (green dots).

You can click on the graphs to see them in a larger size, they can be a little tough to see when they are small. I know they can be a little confusing at first, but they really are simple once you get familiar with them.

Yankees Open Up Home for 2010

Earlier today the Yankees opened up Yankee Stadium for the 2010 season as they defeated the Angels 7-5. It was an enjoyable game, but I don’t know what was the bigger story: the pregame ceremonies or the actual game. Here are some pictures  from today’s event in the House That George Built…

To me the highlight of the day was when trainer Gene Monahan, who has been away from the team battling cancer, received his ring before everyone else got their rings.

Another incredible moment was when Hideki Matsui joined the present-day Yankees on the field and received his ring. Once a Yankee, always a Yankee.

The entire ring ceremony was great, including this handshake Jeter and Yogi have created.

It was also great to see A-Rod finally get his long deserved World Series ring.

I could post pictures all day of all the great moments created today, but since that is unpractical, I’ll just leave you with a picture of the man who put the time and effort, selflessly poured his money into the team, and has been the most dedicated owner in all of sports. Without this man, today would not have happened.

Preparing For The Home Opener

Tomorrow the Yankees will play their 2010 home opener, only the second home opener of this Yankee Stadium’s history. It promises to be fun to watch with all the ceremonies they plan on doing tomorrow. I can’t wait! Anyway, if you want to talk during the game tomorrow you can just comment here because I will not be able to have a game post. I will have a game recap instead however. Anyway, I hope you enjoy the game tomorrow.