What to make of the Yanks loss to the Rays?

"Former Yankees honor the Boss." Photo Credit: Getty Images via Yahoo Sports

Yesterday was an odd day for the Yankees. It started out well with Old Timers’ Day, however, there was a bit of a somber feeling to the whole event with the recent passing of Bob Sheppard and George Steinbrenner. Plus, Yogi Berra was not in attendance because he had fallen in his home. Thankfully, it sounds like Yogi is going to be okay and I wish him a speedy recovering. In the end though, the Old Timers’ Day celebrations were fun and entertaining. It wasn’t until the real Yankee game that the embarrassment started.

A.J. Burnett took the start for the Yankees and coming off two good starts things were looking good for Burnett. Unfortunately, Burnett allowed 3 runs in the first two innings and in frustration he “slammed his hands against a set of double doors, cutting his palms on the plexi glass that holds the lineup card,” according to the Lohud Yankees Blog. At first Burnett told Yankees trainer, Steve Donohue, that he fallen going up the stairs that lead to the dugout and cut his hands bracing his fall. Burnett claims that he made up this story because he was embarrassed and did not want to be taken out of the game because of what he really did. Burnett was left in the start the 3rd inning, but Joe Girardi would go on to take Burnett out before he even recorded an out. Burnett eventually told Girardi, Donohue, and Brian Cashman how he really cut his hands. It seems like the Yankees have the situation handled and that Burnett understands he is needed by his team. Burnett also said he will speak to his teammates today. In my opinion, it is upsetting and frustrating to hear that a player would do what Burnett did. Let’s not forget about Kevin Brown. Still, I know that it is hard to control your emotions when you are letting your team down and 50,000 fans are booing you. So, I’d like to forgive Burnett and move on and hopefully the Yankees have made sure Burnett has learned his lesson.

On a side note, how much worse can Tim McCarver get at broadcasting baseball? Yesterday’s game was on FOX and McCarver was one of the two broadcasters and if any of you were able to listen to the entire game on FOX, I admire you bravery. Every time I watch a game with McCarver I always find myself muting my television, and yesterday was no different. I don’t have the time to mention all the dumb things McCarver said yesterday, but trust me there were a lot. For instance, when Burnett left the game and his injury had not yet been announced, McCarver decided that Burnett most have hurt himself pieing Nick Swisher the day before. If you want to lose some brain cells check out McCarver ranting about Joe Torre,  NYY Stadium Insider has the video. I’m sorry, I guess I’m ranting now too, but I just can’t stand Tim McCarver (or Joe Morgan for that matter).

Yankees drop opener to Jays

Today the Yankees lost an 11 inning affair by the score of 6-1 to the Toronto Blue Jays. Here’s MLB’s boxscore and here’s Fangraph’s version. Coming off a streak of bad games, A.J. Burnett started for the Yankees and he pitched great. Unfortunately nothing else went in the Yankees favor. Going into the eight inning the Yankees led 1-0 on a sacrifice fly by Alex Rodriguez, however, Joba Chamberlain surrender the lead making it a 1-1 game. The score remained tied until the 11th inning when the Yankees bullpen imploded. David Robertson and Chan Ho Park combined to give up 5 runs and the Yankees went on to lose by the score of 6-1.

Many people are ready to blame this loss on the bullpen, and while Yankee relievers (aside for Rivera) certainly didn’t pitch well today (and for most of the season for that matter), this loss falls on the offense. The Yankees offense has been dreadful as of late but great starting pitching has covered it up at times. However, something needs to be done to wake this offense up, the team cannot rely on pitching every day.

Photo Credit: Getty Images via Yahoo Sports

On the “Bright Side”

  • A.J. Burnett pitched very well today and could be back into a groove. If the Yankees can get Burnett to be consistently good, their rotation would be awfully impressive.
  • Both Curtis Granderson and Brett Gardner made fabulous catches today.
  • The Yankees have called up Dustin Mosely and optioned Boone Logan down to Scranton. What’s so great about that you ask? Well I guess it’s more of a personal thing. I’ve always been a fan of Moseley and never been a big fan of Logan. Also, there is a slight chance that Moseley could turn out to be a valuable bullpen arm, but don’t count on it.

"The former Angel is now in the Bronx." Photo Credit: Donnie Collins of the Times Tribune

A-Rod leads Yankees to 8-4 Victory

After losing four out of their last five games, The Yankees defeated The Minnesota Twins tonight with the help of Alex Rodriguez. Let’s break it down…

Pitching

Allan James Burnett started tonight for the Yankees and he went 6.2 innings while only allowing 3 runs (2 earned). He wasn’t great as he walked 4 batters and only struck out 4 batters, but he held the damage to a minimum. Damaso Marte followed Burnett with two outs in the 7th inning, and with the Yankees leading 3-2 Marte gave up an RBI single to Joe Mauer and an RBI double to Justin Morneau. Marte did manage to escape the 7th inning, however. Joba Chamberlain came in to pitch the eight with the Yankees leading 7-4 and he struck out the side. PitchFX clocked Joba’s fastball in at an average of 95 MPH tonight with the high at 96, for those of you wondering. Chamberlain was awarded the winning pitcher for his effort. In the ninth, some guy named Mariano Rivera pitched a 1-2-3 inning and that was the end of the story.

Hitting

The Yankees offense had been kind of stagnant lately, but it seemed to awaken tonight. In the bottom of the 4th, with the Yankees down 1-0, Brett Gardner hit a solo home run. Later in the inning Robinson Cano doubled to score Mark Teixeira. In the bottom of the fifth Mark Teixeira doubled to score Brett Gardner. Then the big blow came in the bottom of the seventh when Alex Rodriguez came up to the plate with the bases loaded and The Twins leading 4-3. On the second pitch of the at bat Matt Guerrier gave Alex a pitch to hit and A-Rod took advantage of it depositing it into left field for a grand slam. The Yankees then led 7-4 and would never look back, but Francisco Cervelli tripled in the eight to score Juan Miranda just for fun.

Here's one of those cool Win Probability graphs for you.

Swisher ailing

Nick Swisher left today’s game with a strain in his left biceps which has been bothering him lately. fortunately, according to Chad Jennings the MRI came back negative.

New Look

So, as you can see 161st Street looks a little different, haha! This design obviously isn’t set in stone, I just didn’t feel like working on it anymore today, so please any suggestions to make it better would be great. By the way, I’ve noticed that depending on the size of your computer screen you may or may not see the full background image. Larger screens will display the blue background with pinstripes running down it, smaller screens will only display the blue background (because the pinstripes are cut off). Either way, let me know what you think about it.

Game 2: Yankees at Red Sox

After losing the first game of the year on Opening Night to the Red Sox, the Yankees will take on Boston again tonight hoping for a better outcome. Here is tonight’s starting lineup for the Yankees via Chad Jennings

SS Derek Jeter

DH Nick Johnson

1B Mark Teixeira

3B Alex Rodriguez

2B Robinson Cano

C Jorge Posada

RF Nick Swisher

LF Marcus Thames

CF Curtis Granderson

RHP A.J. Burnett


A Few Changes To The Lineup

With Jon Lester, an elite lefty, toeing the rubber for the Red Sox, Joe Girardi has made a few lineup changes today. Most notably, Marcus Thames is playing left field instead of Brett Gardner. Marcus Thames doesn’t necessarily hit for a better average against lefties (.256 career AVG against lefties, .234 career AVG against righties) but he does for more power against lefties. However, Thames has to prove that his bat upgrade is worth the defense downgrade vs Gardner. Anyway, the other lineup change is that with Lester pitching, Girardi has moved Curtis Granderson to the 9th spot in the lineup.

Hughes Excels in Extended Spring Game

Yesterday Phil Hughes threw the equivalent of 8 and 1/3 innings in a simulated Spring Training game. Hughes allowed 3 hits to assorted Yankee prospects and struck out 12 while throwing 70 strikes and only 30 balls. Now what does this mean? Well nothing really, the only purpose the game was to keep Hughes fresh and allow him to work on a few things if he needs to.

“Zen Baseball”

Benjamin Kabak over at RAB wrote a nice article about what he calls “Zen Baseball”. Basically, what he is saying is that we as fans need to relax and enjoy baseball instead of worrying over it too much. I highly suggest reading the full post, maybe it will help you gain a better perspective.

Yankees even the series backed by Burnett

Last night the Yankees took game 2 of the World Series by the score of 3-1. The Yankees were opposed by Pedro Martinez, and while he pitched well, he did not pitch as well as Burnett did for the Yankees. A.J. went 7 strong innings allowing only 1 run, while striking out 9 and only walking 2 batters. A.J. really showed his worth last night, and depending on the situations the Yankees may consider starting him on short rest for game 5. On the offensive side Mark Teixeira got the Yankees on the board by hitting a solo homer in the 4th inning, then in the 6th Hideki Matsui hit another solo homer to give the Yankees 2 runs, and that’s all they would need. However, the Yankees picked up an insurance run in the 7th when Jorge Posada (pinch hitting for Jose Molina) singled to score Brett Gardner (pinch running for Jerry Hairston Jr.). Mariano Rivera came in for the 8th and 9th, and shut the down, albeit with some difficulty. Still, the Yankees won, and evened out the series 1-1 going into Philadelphia for 2 games.

Side Note

As you already know, Joe Girardi opted to put Jerry Hairston Jr. in right field last night in place for the slumping Nick Swisher (4-35 this postseason, a .114 average). I don’t disagree with the move to sit Swisher, but I’m not sure I think Hairston was the best replacement. I understand Jerry had good numbers against Pedro (1o-27), but Eric Hinske is 8-30 against Pedro, and Hinske is generally considered the better hitter out of the duo of Hairston and Hinkse. And if Girardi didn’t want to play Hinske, Gardner was an option as well, but I too probably would have chose Hairston over Gardner. What’s your take?

Game 138 and 139: Rays at Yankees

Today, Labor Day, which looks to be a very nice day, the Yankees will play a day night double header against the Rays. I’m really looking forward to it because it means twice as much Yankee baseball as usual. Hopefully the Yankees can win the first game, which would take the pressure off AJ Burnett in the second game, plus it is rare for a team to win both games of a double header. Anyway, here are the lineups via Pete Abe:

Game 1 – 1:05pm

SS Derek Jeter

RF Nick Swisher

1B Mark Teixeira

3B Alex Rodriguez

2B Robinson Cano

C Jorge Posada

DH Eric Hinske

LF Melky Cabrera

CF Brett Gardner – Welcome back!

And on the mound, CC Sabathia

Game 2 – 7:05pm

TBA

The boys are back in town

Brett Gardner is back with the big team, and Shelley Duncan will be too according to Pete Abe Duncan has been recalled.

A couple videos to pass the time

Sorry for the shortage of posts lately, with the summer ending and school starting I’ve been a bit busy lately, hopefully when things settle down I’ll be able to provide regular posts.

Game 127: Rangers at Yankees

Last night Andy Pettitte and the Yankees defeated the Rangers by the score of 9-2, but don’t be deceived, it wasn’t a one-sided game, until the bottom of the 7th when the Yankees scored 5 runs, it was a 4-2 ballgame. Andy Pettitte was strong through 7 innings allowing only 2 runs and striking out 7, and Brian Bruney and Phil Coke came in the finish off the game. Today the Yankees have a quick turn-around as they play a day game. Here is the starting lineup:

SS Derek Jeter

LFJohnny Damon

1B Mark Teixeira

3B Alex Rodriguez

DH Hideki Matsui

RF Nick Swisher

2B Robinson Cano

CF Melky Cabrera

C Jose Molina

And on the mound, AJ Burnett

Injury Updates

  • Alex Rodriguez – Obviously he is okay as he is in the starting lineup, but as you may know he fouled a pitch off his left foot last night during the 8th inning and left the game in the 9th. However, he is okay, he just has a bruised foot.
  • Jorge Posada – In the 8th inning last night Posada was hit in the left ring finger by a foul ball, and immediately left the game. Supposedly, this re-aggravated an injury he suffered a couple weeks ago. Posada underwent x-rays which were negative, and he is day-to-day. Look for him to get a few days off since the Yankees have a 6 game lead and probably don’t want to risk further injuring Posada.

Is Phil Hughes still with the Yankees?

So far this month(which is now 26 days old) Phil Hughes has pitched a whopping 8 innings. I don’t really understand why the Yankees aren’t using him, but his innings limit is not the problem (he has plenty of innings left since the Yankees moved him to the bullpen). I understand the Yankees want to be careful with him, and they might not want to use him in unnecessary situations, but they have to if they want to keep  him loose and ready to pitch in a big spot.

Game 124: Yankees at Red Sox

Tonight’s game is the final game of this series, and happens to be a rubber match. All I can hope for is that tonight’s game is better than yesterday’s game. Here is the starting lineup via Peter Abraham:

SS Derek Jeter

LF Johnny Damon – After the way Damon has played left field this year, I shouldn’t be happy to see him out there, but I am because he is still better than Eric Hinske

1B Mark Teixeira

3B Alex Rodriguez

DH Hideki Matsui

RF Nick Swisher

2B Robinson Cano

CF Melky Cabrera

C Jose Molina

And on the mound, CC Sabathia

“Why can’t we be friends?”

In yesterday’s game it was pretty clear that AJ Burnett and Jorge Posada where not on the same page. Peter Abraham seems to think the blame should go to Burnett, while I disagree, here is what Pete Abe had to say:

By no means do I think Posada and Burnett work particularly well together because they don’t. But when asked about pitch selection, Posada put it well.

“I just make suggestions,” he said. “It’s up to the pitcher to throw the pitch he wants. He’s the guy in charge.”

Look at Burnett’s history. This is a stubborn guy who tends to blow up at times and let games get away from him. That is who he is. He kept saying after the game how good he thought his curveball was. From what I saw, the Red Sox were hammering that pitch, just like they have all season.

Burnett’s a two-pitch guy with an occasional change-up. It’s not like any catcher has a lot to pick from.

Burnett may be a stubborn guy, but that is a good thing because you don’t want an indecisive pitcher on the mound for you. Posada on the other hand, can not be stubborn, which I think he is. If Burnett has his mind made up on a curveball, and Posada calls for a fastball and convinces Burnett to throw a fastball, Burnett is not going to throw that fastball with great confidence, which usually means it won’t be a good pitch. Obviously something needs to be fixed between these two guys. If I were Girardi, I would have them both sit down and discuss a game plan for how they are going to work together in the future, and Burnett should be in charge. The last thing Yankee fans want to see is Jose Molina catching game 2 of a playoff series because Burnett and Posada don’t get along. How do you feel about this? Do you think it is Burnett’s fault, Posada’s fault, or both? Please comment.

Comedic relief

The Greatest Game of The Season

Last night Alex Rodriguez hit a walk off two run homer (the only runs of the game!) to defeat the Red Sox in 15 innings. Last night’s game was easily the biggest game of the season so far for the Yankees, their pitching dueled the Red Sox pitching for 15 innings in what would become an instant classic. If I didn’t mention everything that happened in this game, it wouldn’t be fair, so I am going to sum it up inning by inning. Here we go!

1st inning

Red Sox – Jacoby Ellsbury started off the game with a single past a diving Swisher, and then Dustin Pedroia walked. It looked like a bad way to start the game off for the Yankees, but little did we know that Burnett would not allow a hit for the rest of the game! Burnett would get Victor Martinez to ground out into a double play, and then he got David Ortiz to ground out after walking Kevin Youkilis.

Yankees – The Yankees would go 3 up 3 down against Beckett as Jeter lined out, Damon struck out looking, and Teixeira grounded out.

2nd inning

Red Sox – This time Burnett would look better as he got J.D. Drew to ground out, Jason Varitek to strike out, and Josh Reddick to fly out.

Yankees – The Yankees would go 3 up 3 down again as Rodriguez took strike 3, Matsui grounded out, and Posada struck out swinging.

3rd inning

Red Sox - Nick Green flies out, Ellsbury grounds out, Pedroia walks only to be caught stealing by Jorge Posada.

Yankees – The Yankees get their first base runner of the game as Robinson Cano doubles, then Swisher walked, but Melky grounded into a double play and Jeter grounded out to end the inning.

4th inning

Red Sox – Victor Martinez flew out to start the inning, then Youkilis walked, but David Ortiz hit into a double play to end the inning.

Yankees – Damon called out on strikes, Teixeira lines out, and Rodriguez flies out…3 up 3 down.

5th inning

Red Sox – J.D. Drew grounds out, Varitek lines out, and Reddick called out on strikes…3 up 3 down.

Yankees – They finnally got something going this inning…Hideki singled to start the inning, followed by a single by Posada, then Cano hit one as hard as you can but right at J.D. Drew for the first out of the inning, Matsui did not tag up. After Cano, Swisher was called out on strikes, 2 outs. Then Melky walked to load the bases for Jeter, who grounded out to end the inning, no runs score.

6th inning

Red Sox – The inning started out poorly for Burnett, he walked Nick Green to start the inning, then Ellsbury reached on catcher’s interference by Posada. But then Burnett got Pedroia to fly out, Martinez to pop out, and then Youkilis struck out to end the inning.

Yankees – Damon led off the inning by popping out, followed by Teixeira who grounded out, then Rodriguez who also grounded out.

7th inning

Red Sox – David Ortiz struck out to lead off the inning, followed by Drew who grounded out, then Varitek who struck out to end the inning.

Yankees – Matsui singled to start the inning, but then Posada struck out, followed by Cano who struck out while Matsui was trying to steal second but was thrown out. End of inning.

8th inning

Red Sox – Reddick grounded out to lead off the inning, then Casey Kotchman pinch hit for Nick Green but he struck out, and then Burnett walked Ellsbury in what would be his final batter faced in the game. Burnett departed with 2 outs and a man on first, and he got a huge standing ovation from the crowd as he left. Phil Hughes came in to replace Burnett, and he got Pedroia to fly out for the 3rd out.

AJ ovation

Yankees – The Red Sox put in Hideki Okajima to replace Beckett. Swisher grounded out to lead off the inning, then Melky struck out and Jeter flew out.

9th inning

Red Sox – Mariano Rivera came in to replace Hughes, and Jerry Hairston Jr. took over in right field for defensive purposes. Victor Martinez struck out swinging to lead off the inning, then Youkilis took called strike three, then Ortiz hit a single, but J.D. Drew lined out to end the inning.

Yankees – Damon flew out to lead off the inning, then the Red Sox put in Daniel Bard to replace Okajima. Teixeira would strike out against Bard for the 2nd out, but then Rodriguez singled and stole second, followed by a walk by Matsui. Then with Posada batting, Bard balked which put runners at 2nd and 3rd but Posada would strike out to end the inning.

10th inning

Red Sox – Alfredo Aceves took over for Mariano to begin the 10th. Varitek and Reddick both grounded out to begin the inning, but then Chris Woodward walked and Ellsbury singled, but Pedroia flew out to end the inning.

Yankees - Ramon Ramirez replaced Bard. Cano flew out for the first out, then Eric Hinske who was batting for Hairston walked. With Melky batting a wild pitch put Hinske on 2nd, but Melky would ground out, and Papelbon would come in and get Jeter to strike out to end the inning.

11th inning

Red Sox – Aceves would retire the side 1-2-3 as Martinez struck out, Youkilis popped up, and Ortiz grounded out.

Yankees - Damon grounds out, Teixeira flies out, and Rodriguez strikes out…3 up 3 down.

12th inning

Red Sox – Drew and Varitek would start the inning by both striking out, followed by Reddick who grounded out…3 up 3 down.

Yankees – Manny Delcarmen replaces Papelbon. Matsui pops out, Posada walks, Cano pops out, Hinske walks, and then Melky pops out to end the inning. (funny pattern of pop outs followed by walks)

13th inning

Red Sox -Brian Bruney comes in to replace Alfredo Aceves, uh oh. Woodward strikes out, Ellsbury pops out, and Pedroia strikes out. Good Bruney.

Yankees – Takashi Saito replaces Delcarmen. Jeter grounds out, Damon pops out, Teixeira walks, but Rodriguez flies out.

14th inning

Red Sox – Martinez flies out for out number 1. Youkilis singles (bad Bruney), Ortiz grounds out (good Bruney) but no double play, Bruney intentionally walks Drew to face Varitek who grounds out for out number 3.

Yankees – The Red Sox put in Junich Tazawa to replace Saito. Tazawa makes his major league debut in the 14th inning of a 0-0 game at Yankee stadium, and the first batter that he faces is Hideki Matsui who he grew up watching, pretty crazy right? Anyway, Matsui lines out, Posada singles, Cano singles, now 1st and 2nd for Eric Hinske. Ramiro Pena pinch runs for Posada at 2nd, Hinske hits a sharp line drive to right which looked like it would end the game, but Drew makes a great play. 2 outs, still 1st and 2nd, Melky at the plate. Melky would end up striking out to end the inning, but in that at bat he hit a hard line drive to right field that missed being fair by an inch.

15th inning

Red Sox- Jose Molina takes over at catcher, Phil Coke replaces Brian Bruney. Reddick called out on strikes, Woodward flies out, Ellsbury flies out…3 up 3 down.

Yankees – Jeter singles to start the inning, then Damon bunt pops out on a very questionable play. Teixeira strikes out, 2 outs, man on first for Alex Rodriguez. Rodriguez took the first pitch for a ball, then the 2nd for a strike, and the 3rd for another strike…but then on the 4th pitch he hit a line drive home run left center to win the game 2-0!

Rodriguez walk off

Of course A-Rod got pied by AJ Burnett, although he didn’t get much in his face. I guess AJ was tired after pitching  such a great game, and then sticking around in the dugout to watch the rest.

AJ pie

I think the Red Sox are quite worried now that the Yankees have a 4.5 game lead in the AL East, and the Sox only have a 1 game lead in the wild card with Texas right behind them, and today the Yankees send CC to hill to oppose Clay Buchholz, it looks like this match up favors the Yankees who happen to have the best record in the Major Leagues right now at 67-42, the Dodgers have the second best at 67-43.

Arod pie

Game 109: Red Sox at Yankees

Last night the Yankees picked up their first win of the season against the Boston Red Sox, tonight they go for their second and they will send out the following lineup via Pete Abe:

SS Derek Jeter

LF Johnny Damon

1B Mark Teixeira

3B Alex Rodriguez

DH Hideki Matsui

C Jorge Posada

2B Robinson Cano

RF Nick Swisher

CF Melky Cabrera

And on the mound, Allan James Burnett


Welcome back Ramiro, but why didn’t you bring Francisco with you?

Ramiro Pena has been recalled, and Anthony Claggett was optioned down to Scranton. It’s going to be nice to see Ramiro back, and Pena has been working on playing the outfield so he is now more versatile, but I can’t help but wonder do the Yankees really need him now that they have Hairston?

The Yankees acquire Chad Guadin

You probably already know this but just in case…The Yankees acquired Chad Gaudin from the San Diego Padres last night in exchange for a PTBNL. Gaudin will join the team on Sunday, and at that point a reliever is likely to be sent down. Supposedly the most likely candidates are David Robertson and Mark Melancon, who have both been pitching very well lately. If the Yankees are going to send one of the two aforementioned relievers down, my guess is that Melancon rides the shuttle to Scranton. But why are they the only candidates, what about Brian Bruney (or maybe they DL Bruney if he still isn’t “right”) or Ramiro Pena who as I mentioned above doesn’t seem to really be necessary. We will have to wait and see.

Clutchy McClutchbrera (hat tip to River Ave Blues for the name)

Just a little stat to throw at you to show how clutch Melky Cabrera is…in his career he is batting .311 in situations defined as “late and close” (the seventh inning or later with the batting team ahead by one, tied, or has the tying run on base, at bat or on deck) and in his career against the Red Sox he is batting .321 with 27 RBI’s.

Smoltz DFA’d

Earlier today the Red Sox DFA John Smoltz. To me it looks like his career might just be over, and he went out the hard way. Just think, John Smoltz last game was against the Yankees in the new Yankee Stadium and he got crushed. Now, who knows maybe somebody picks him up and he turns it around, he did put all this work into coming back from surgery so why stop now. But, by the sound of his post game interview, he sounds like someone who might be done. By the way, the Red Sox also DFA Billy Traber, they called up Junichi Tazawa, and they got Chris Woodward from Seattle to play short.