Friday, August 31, 2012

Game one loss

In a game that was practically a must win for the Yankees, they drop the ball and blow it, again. Before the series began, I thought the Yankees would be able to start a winning streak and answer the call when it was most needed. However, I was wrong again. In a game against the second place opponents in the division, the Yankees get embarrassed. They almost get shut out by Miguel Gonzalez and the Orioles bullpen. They weren't facing Roger Clemens in his prime. Nick Swisher especially, made the Yankees look terrible by striking out four times and with men in scoring position to make it worse.

Kuroda gave the Yankees a representative start, but again the Yankee offense was unable to score him any runs which is the story of the Yankees season. They will try to win a game tomorrow night against Chen. With their sluggish offense of late, it should be an interesting night.

Lineup: Nix DH

Derek Jeter SS
Nick Swisher 1B
Robinson Cano 2B
Curtis Granderson CF
Eric Chavez 3B
Raul Ibanez LF
Russell Martin C
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Jayson Nix DH

SP: RHP Hiroki Kuroda

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Off Day Notes: Do or Die

The next ten games that the Yankees play could be the most important ten game stretch of the season for them. First, Baltimore comes to New York tomorrow night for three games, trailing the Yankees by three games in the division. The next three days alone could determine the Yankees' place in the division if they get swept or only win one game. Following the three game set against the O's, the Yankees will head south to play the Tampa Bay Rays for three games. The Yankees have had trouble winning games in Tampa Bay in recent years and the Rays trail the Yankees by four games in the loss column. If the Yankees come out victorious against the Orioles this weekend, they could breathe a sigh or relief going into Tampa Bay for three games because they did well against the second place team before they played the Rays. However, in the next six games the Yankees also have a chance of losing the division lead as well as a playoff spot. That is why winning four out of their next six games would be vital to a beat-up Yankee team.

After the Tampa Bay series, the Yankees head to Baltimore, Maryland for four games against the Orioles at Camden Yards. Depending on what the Yankees do in their previous six games, the series could mean nothing or it could mean a lot. If they beat up on the Orioles and Rays before heading to Baltimore, they have a chance to bury the Orioles for good and focus on getting their guys healthy. However, if they blow the six games prior to the Baltimore series, the four game set could mean the Yankees postseason chances. Rumor has it that Alex Rodriguez is on the fast track on returning from the disabled list and back into the Yankee lineup. Knowing Joe Girardi, I would say that Alex Rodriguez will make his return in Baltimore in time for the Yankees four game series against them rather than having A-Rod come back against the Rays. Baltimore knows the Yankees' weaknesses, which is why they have accumulated a wealth of lefty starting pitchers for the upcoming series in the Bronx. With Andruw Jones cleaning up over the course of the next three games against lefties, the Yankees could be in series trouble.

Regardless of how you draw it up, the next ten games are integral games for the Yankees. With Alex Rodriguez returning within the next week and Mark Teixeira possibly coming back in Baltimore next week, the Yankees should be able to win the latter portion of their next ten games. Before that however, they will need to scratch and claw for these six games against Baltimore and Tampa Bay. Going 6-4 in their next ten games would not give the Yankees much breathing room for the rest of the season. I think they have to win no less than seven games to maintain a comfortable lead in their division. Do I think the Yankees are capable of going 7-3 in their next ten games? I do, but it is more so a question of health and where they stand after the Tampa series.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Time to Hit the Panic Button

Forget about this game, but the Yankees have just lost two out of three games to the Toronto Blue Jays. This is a team that is dreadful this season. The Yankees are treading water on their division lead and the Yankees blew a series which they should have swept to begin with. CC Sabathia gave the Yankees a decent start but the defense and bullpen did not help him. With three errors on the day and Joba coming in with an emptied bullpen to give up another two runs in a one-run game, that is why the Yankees lost. Another alarming statistic is that the Yankees got hit after hit to lead off innings and just could not get anyone in to score. An even more alarming statistic is that the Yankees are 0-46 when trailing after eight innings. The Yankees are the only team in baseball to not come back to win a game when trailing after eight frames. They play in the same league as the Houston Astros. That alone says it all.

With Baltimore coming in for three games over the weekend, the Yankees should be biting their nails after winning only one game against a terrible team who came into the series limping and on a seven game losing streak. This weekend series could mean the division lead for the Yankees. The series right after that will be in Tampa. After Tampa, the Yankees head to Baltimore for another four games. The Yankees' next ten games could mean life or death on their season. One would think that with two AL East foes over the next ten games, the Yankees need to power up and get their season together before dismantling all together.

The Yankees have tomorrow as an off-day to think about what a terrible game they played today. I hope the food tastes worse for the players as they reflect on their last two series and how they blew them both.

Lineup: Jones batting fourth

Derek Jeter SS
Nick Swisher 1B
Robinson Cano 2B
Andruw Jones RF
Curtis Granderson CF
Steve Pearce DH
Jayson Nix 3B
Ichiro Suzuki LF
Chris Stewart C

SP: LHP CC Sabathia

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Hughes Answers the Call

Phil Hughes gave the Yankees just what they needed tonight after last night's devastating loss. He fired seven innings of one-run ball to win the Yankees a game they desperately needed to avoid the possibility of getting swept by a sub-par team tomorrow afternoon. Luckily for the Yankees, two runs is all they would need against Ricky Romero who was really on top of his game tonight. Even better for the Yankees, Phil Hughes was better. David Robertson and Rafael Soriano combined for two 1-2-3 innings and Soriano showed more emotion than usual after sealing the deal on a Yankee victory.

For the Bronx Bombers, no home runs were needed to get this victory, marking a rare homer-less win for the Yankees. A clutch two-out RBI single by Nick Swisher with two outs in the third inning. The other run came in the fourth inning on a Granderson sac fly to give the Yankees a 2-0 lead. There wasn't much offense to write about, so that will conclude my post on this must win victory for the New York Yankees.

In the rubber game of the three game set against the Blue Jays, CC Sabathia will make his second start since coming off the DL. He will face J.A Happ who will pitch for Toronto.

Lineup: Pearce hitting cleanup

Derek Jeter SS
Nick Swisher 1B
Robinson Cano 2B
Steve Pearce DH
Russell Martin C
Curtis Granderson CF
Andruw Jones LF
Jayson Nix 3B
Ichiro Suzuki RF

SP: RHP Phil Hughes

Monday, August 27, 2012

Extra Inning Heartbreaker

David Phelps made a great start tonight for the Yankees, but was not able to get the win because Rafael Soriano blew the save in the ninth inning with two outs. With two men on base, Soriano gave up the go-ahead home run to Colby Rasmus that gave Toronto their first and permanent lead of the game. Soriano has done a great job for the Yankees before tonight and the blown save was the only the third by Soriano. Derek Jeter bailed him out temporarily when he tied the game in the bottom of the ninth with a solo shot to right field. In the eleventh inning, Derek Lowe threw the ball away past first base on a pick-off attempt and eventually the runner would score on a groundout. That would be the difference in the game and the Yankees lose a game to a terrible team when other teams close in the standings continue to win.

To continue with David Phelps, I get excited when he is starting because I know that that Phelps is capable of getting people out and providing the Yankees with a quality performance every time he takes the mound. In a way, Phelps has been the Yankees savior after Sabathia landed on the disabled list followed by Nova's DL stint. If Phelps continues to pitch the way he has been pitching lately, he will have a rotation spot come next spring. He is a valuable asset to the Yankees even though he throws 90-92 MPH. His ability to spot his pitches makes him a weapon because many young pitchers shy away from throwing strikes.

Robinson Cano had a breakout game tonight by hitting two home runs in his first two at-bats. With a hot hitting Cano, the Yankees can go a long way this season and in the future. Swisher hit his twentieth home run of the season, making this the eighth time in his career that Swisher hit at least twenty home runs in a season. Teixeira left the game after the fourth inning after he fouled a pitch off his left calf. He hobbled around the bases on a Russell Martin RBI single but left the game right after he scored. He will go for an MRI tonight but early reports state that he suffered a left calf contusion.

Tomorrow night, Ricky Romero will make the start for the Jays after the cancelled game in Baltimore on Sunday forced everyone in the rotation to move back a day. Phil Hughes looks for his thirteenth win against a struggling Toronto team that has been plagued by the injury bug.

Lineup: Swisher at DH

Derek Jeter SS
Nick Swisher DH
Robinson Cano 2B
Mark Teixeira 1B
Curtis Granderson CF
Eric Chavez 3B
Russell Martin C
Raul Ibanez LF
Ichiro Suzuki RF

SP: RHP David Phelps

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Granderson hits 200th Career Homer in Win

This was a game that the Yankees needed to come out on top on. They lost last night to the hands of Justin Masterson. No Cleveland pitcher should be limiting the Yankee hitters to one run in nine innings. It was big today for the team to come home on a winning note and start fresh against a bad Toronto team. Freddy Garcia went 4.2 innings and again, things unraveled for him in the fifth inning. Boone Logan came in however, and retired the last batter of the inning. The Yankees had themselves a one run lead into the sixth inning until Granderson gave the pitchers a little more breathing room by hitting his 200th career home run. Granderson has been struggling mightily in the last month but his power stroke remains prevalent.

Joe Girardi almost over-managed the Yankee lead in the eighth inning. Robertson came into the game with one out in the seventh inning and Girardi pulled him with two outs in the eighth with a man on first base. Robertson had been doing a great job and did not deserve Girardi pulling him out prematurely. Robertson only had seventeen pitches thrown in the four outs he was able to get and was in no way pitching under stress. Everyone held their breath when Soriano came in to get the final out in the inning when LaPorta gave the ball a ride to the wall where Ichiro made a nice running catch. The Yankees were able to escape Cleveland with the series win and face American League East opponents over their next twenty-two games. In those twenty-two games they play the Orioles and Rays six times. Those games are where we will see how the Yankees finish the season. However, if they are struggling to score runs against a Cleveland pitching staff, how will they fare against the Rays?

Tomorrow, the Yankees return to the Bronx to face the Blue Jays. It will be David Phelps against Ricky Romero. Romero is having an atrocious year with an ERA over five and is walking too many batters. The Yankees have faced him twice this year already and have gotten to him both times. They are hoping for more of the same while Romero wants to reverse his season against the Yankees.

No Love for Kuroda

Hiroki Kuroda is the starter with the most bad luck in terms of run support. After a shaky first inning in which the righty gave up a three-run home run to Michael Brantley, Kuroda gave the Yankees what they needed. He pitched a complete game loss which seems to be the story of his career in the Major Leagues stemming back from his Dodger days. The first inning was a nightmare for Kuroda, but he settled in nicely after the second inning and gave the Yankees a representative performance. It was not his fault that the Yankees lost the game even though it goes into the box score as an "L" for Kuroda. Starts like Kuroda had tonight are days where the Yankees need to back their starters. Too many times this year, Kuroda has given them great outings but ended up with losses. The most recent game that comes to mind was the 1-0 loss to Felix Hernandez. However tonight, the Yankees were facing Justin Masterson who is not having a great year. He came into the game with an ERA of almost five.

The offense was not able to do anything tonight after loading the bases twice in later innings and leaving men on second and third as well. It's really frustrating to watch a team load the bases with no men out and end up scoring only one run without the benefit of a hit. Teixeira drove in the Yankees only run of the night on a deep sac fly to center field. Russell Martin and Eric Chavez both hit balls hard but they were right at the defenders. This will go down as another game where the Yankees had several chances to cash in but failed to get that one big hit. To make matters worse, the Rays lost to Oakland today and the Yankees had a chance to gain a full game on Tampa Bay. Instead, they make it harder on themselves and lose to a team that is having a terrible collapse.

The Yankees hope to get the rubber game of the set tomorrow before coming back to the Bronx to face the Blue Jays and Orioles. Freddy Garcia will get the ball for the Yankees and Ubaldo Jimenez will pitch for the Tribe.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Lineup same as yesterday

Derek Jeter SS
Nick Swisher RF
Robinson Cano 2B
Mark Teixeira 1B
Curtis Granderson CF
Eric Chavez 3B
Russell Martin C
Raul Ibanez DH
Ichiro Suzuki LF

SP: RHP Hiroki Kuroda

Red Sox/Dodgers Mega-Trade Nearly Complete

Ever since yesterday evening, the Red Sox and the Dodgers have been working toward a trade. Not just any trade, but a trade that would send 1B Adrian Gonzalez, OF Carl Crawford, RHP Josh Beckett and SS Nick Punto to the Dodgers in exchange for 1B James Loney and several prospects. At least one of the prospects that the Red Sox will obtain will be a top prospect. In order for the trade to go through, Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett had to OK a trade due to their no-trade clauses. Surprisingly, both have Ok'ed the trade and the final details are being worked out.

What this tells me is that Red Sox management is weeding out the "anti- Bobby Valentine" players. Instead of siding with the players, the Red Sox are siding with their manager. By making this move, the Red Sox have instilled a sense of confidence in Bobby V and are showing that he is their guy. Earlier this month, there were rumors that several players got together and sent a text message to ownership stating their negative feelings toward Bobby Valentine. Supposedly, Adrian Gonzalez was on the fore-front of this controversy.

For the Red Sox, this is a HUGE salary dump and a way of telling Theo Epstein that his moves were not supported by ownership. When Crawford was signed, many people were scratching their heads as to why the Red Sox would throw so much money at Crawford. Turns out they did not support it all along and after Crawford had Tommy John surgery on Thursday, he had to deal with this trade.

  • Josh Beckett is set to earn $15.75MM per season through 2014.
  • Carl Crawford will earn $20MM in 2013, $20.25MM in 2014, $20.5MM in 2015, $20.75MM in 2016 and $21MM in 2017. Yikes.
  • Adrian Gonzalez signed an extension with the Red Sox before last season that would have him earning $21MM per year through 2016 and a raise to bring his salary to $21.5MM in 2017-18.
  • Nick Punto will earn $1.5M through next season.
For the Dodgers who have a ton of money after Magic Johnson bought the team, they want to win now and for years to come. They have taken on a lot of salary and hope to ignite a stretch run with this infusion of players.

Friday, August 24, 2012

A Much Needed Victory

Turns out all the Yankees needed was a good starting performance from CC Sabathia and a big night from Nick Swisher to snap a three game losing streak. Sabathia was spectacular in his return, going 7.1 innings and allowing one run on an Asdrubel Cabrera home run. Aside from that, Sabathia mowed down the Indians lineup and got out of a couple of jams with runners in scoring position. In his 7.1 innings of work, Sabathia struck out nine batters and walked one. The Yankees will need their big ace lefty to be healthy if they want to go deep into the playoffs. With another lefty healthy (Andy Pettitte), the Yankees are almost guaranteed a lethal starting three in the playoffs.

The only offense the Yankees received tonight was courtesy of Nick Swisher, who was a triple short of the cycle. He had all three RBI in the game for the Yankees and without Swisher, the Yankee lineup did almost nothing against a below average pitching staff that is put out by the Indians. The offense slumping is just a phase the Yankees are going through in their extended stretch of not playing up to their potential. My opinion on the light hitting for the Yankees right now is that it is better to get it out of the way with thirty-seven games remaining rather than it happening again in a crucial playoff game. You have to give credit where credit is due. Nick Swisher has had many clutch hits for the Yankees and tonight is a prime example of his patient and selective approach at the plate.

Tomorrow, the red-hot Hiroki Kuroda will face the Tribe opposite Justin Masterson as the Yankees try to make it two straight against a reeling Indians team. Tomorrow, the Yankees need to bust out their hitting shoes because they can't have another nail-biter like they did tonight in the ninth inning. Soriano worked into and out of trouble in the ninth with the tying run at second base with no outs. A night where the Yankees score ample runs would be what the doctor ordered for a struggling offense.

Lineup: Must Win Game

Derek Jeter SS
Nick Swisher RF
Robinson Cano 2B
Mark Teixeira 1B
Curtis Granderson CF
Eric Chavez 3B
Russell Martin C
Raul Ibanez DH
Ichiro Suzuki LF

SP: LHP CC Sabathia

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Nova to DL

Ivan Nova will indeed head to the disabled list with inflammation in his right rotator cuff. That will be the obvious move to make room for when CC Sabathia comes off the DL tomorrow night in his start against the Indians. There is nothing needed surgically for Nova. Time and medication will heal his injury. He will be eligible to come off the DL in 15 days, missing at least two starts.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Playing with Fire

Well it's official: the Yankees have been swept by the Chicago White Sox. Chris Sale completely dominated the Yankee lineup from top to bottom with the exception of Derek Jeter who hit another home run tonight. Sale struck out thirteen Yankees in 7.2 innings and earned a win. Hughes did not pitch to the scoreboard. After Jeter tied the game with a solo shot, Hughes allowed a solo shot of his own to Alex Rios. Phil Hughes came into the night knowing the Yankees needed a great start for him. Unfortunately, seven innings of two run baseball did not cut it tonight. Hughes blows my mind sometimes. When the Yankees score four runs, Hughes gives up five, when the Yankees score zero runs, Hughes gives up one. This is probably just my frustration as a fan setting in, but the Yankees are in danger of losing the lead in their division. With the Rays winning again, the Yankees now lead the division by just three games. The Yankees have too good of a team to let that lead slip away to Evan Longoria. When Longoria plays, the Rays win. It's simple as that. He can go 0-5 with three strikeouts, but his mere presence gives the Rays an added spark.

I also give kudos to Chris Sale for dominating a slumping Yankee team right now. He took advantage of the Yankees weaknesses and rubbed it in their faces. The Yankees have an off-day tomorrow before going into Cleveland where CC Sabathia will make his first start off the DL. The Indians are a terrible team after going into a tail-spin after the All-Star break. If the Yankees struggle against the Indians, there is something much deeper within this organization that needs to be addressed. Jeter can not be the only man hitting in this lineup. Cano looks terrible, Hughes can never give you the performance you need from him, and most importantly, the Yankees don't play well in one-run games.

Lineup

Derek Jeter SS
Nick Swisher RF
Robinson Cano 2B
Mark Teixeira 1B
Andruw Jones DH
Curtis Granderson CF
Russell Martin C
Casey McGehee 3B
Ichiro Suzuki LF

SP: RHP Phil Hughes

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Tumble Continues

The Yankees have officially forgotten how to play baseball. They are not getting any hits in the late innings when trailing. Hits, not even runs. They are incapable of amassing a base hit to strand a runner. They explode in the first inning of these games, gain leads, give it all up and then some and finally fade quietly into the night. It is frustrating to watch a team with such talent to struggle the way the Yankees have. At the rate they are playing now, it would not be unfathomable to see the Yankees playing in a one game playoff against the second wildcard team. They are airmailing their season with a handful of games remaining, something all too familiar for the Yankees. They did it last year and the year before to bad results. The offense was one struggle for the Yankees tonight. They again were unable to get the big hit. The pitching is a different story.

Ivan Nova let a two run lead slip away in the fifth inning after giving up a grand slam to Kevin Youkilis. Nova has been terrible this year and needs to get taken out of the rotation to sort out his problems. Nova gets into these funks and is unable to work out of them without getting a kick to the rear end. The Yankees can not afford to keep sending Nova to the mound to watch him continuously fail. They have a lead to protect in the division and letting that go would be a travesty for a team who had a ten game lead at one point in the season.

The Yankees will try to get at least one game in this series tomorrow night against Chris Sale, who is having a fantastic sophomore season. Hughes will try to pich a decent game for the Yankees tomorrow, or else their division lead will dissipate even more.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Bullpen Struggles in Yankee Loss

In a snail's pace of a game, the Yankees had the lead heading into the fifth inning. They smacked starter Gavid Floyd around for three runs in 2.1 innings and held on to that lead. Freddy Garcia was rolling along through the first four innings and I thought that this win was in the bag for the Yankees. The White Sox offense was sluggish and they looked foolish at the plate. In the fifth inning, the White Sox steam rolled all over Freddy Garcia, Cody Eppley and Clay Rapada. With a five run fifth inning, the Sox temporarily took the lead over the Yankees. The Yankees came back in the sixth inning with two unanswered runs. Shortly thereafter, Joba Chamberlain entered a close game and blew another lead for the Yankees. In fact, he allowed the go-ahead run on a Gordon Beckham home run. The bullpen was even more atrocious than Freddy Garcia was.

One bright spot in a terrible game for the Yankees was Derek Jeter, who collected four more hits to tie Eddie Murray on baseball's all-time hits list. He has been on fire and his season average now stands at .326. Casey McGehee pinch hit for Chavez in the sixth and singled in the go-ahead run which momentarily gave back the Yankees their lead.

This loss stings for the Yankees even more because the Rays won tonight and now trail the Yankees by only four games in the division. The Rays just won't stop winning and are becoming a thorn in the side of the Yankees. Tomorrow night, Ivan Nova will have to give the Yankees a good and long performance after the disaster their bullpen faced tonight. Francisco Liriano will make his first start against the Yankees since being traded from the Twins before the deadline.

Lineup: Teixeira is back

Derek Jeter SS
Nick Swisher DH
Robinson Cano 2B
Mark Teixeira 1B
Curtis Granderson CF
Eric Chavez 3B
Raul Ibanez LF
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Chris Stewart C

SP: RHP Freddy Garcia

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Japan Gives Yankees Series Finale Victory

The two players who drove the Yankees to their series finale win versus the Red Sox both came from Japan and have found great careers for themselves in the States. The first of the two players, without whom the Yankees would not be in the position they are in right now, was Hiroki Kuroda. The Japanese right-hander tossed eight fantastic innings of one-run baseball tonight. He allowed only four hits and the only run Kuroda gave up was on a home run to Adrian Gonzalez. Other than that, Kuroda kept the Red Sox hitters on their toes and baffled most of them. He whiffed four batters in his start but induced twelve ground ball outs, which is what Kuroda should be doing with his sinker/slider combination. Hiroki Kuroda has been as valuable to the Yankees this year as any starter they've had in the past three seasons and he will most certainly start a game two of a playoff series behind CC Sabathia.

The second of the two Japanese born players, Ichiro Suzuki, hit two bombs to the right field seats. Both of his home runs came against Red Sox starter Josh Beckett who went six innings and allowed four earned runs. Ichiro accounted for half of the Yankee scoring and his two home runs was the seventh time in his illustrious Major League career that the outfielder had a multi-homer game. Ichiro has found his fountain of youth after coming to the Yankees. He has hit safely in twenty-one of his twenty-three games as a Yankee and is hitting over .300. He has been a great find for the Yankees who gave up essentially nothing to obtain Ichiro. It will be fun to watch what Ichiro has in store for Yankee fans should the Yankees make the playoffs.


After taking two out of three from the Red Sox, the Yankees will travel to Chicago to face Adam Dunn and the White Sox, who sit in first place in the AL Central. They have been a surprise to baseball this season as Robin Ventura has done a great job managing the White Sox. Freddy Garcia will make the start for the Yankees and Gavin Floyd will start for the White Sox, looking to bounce back from a poor performance against the Yankees earlier in the season.

Lineup

I like this lineup

Derek Jeter SS
Nick Swisher 1B
Robinson Cano 2B
Curtis Granderson CF
Eric Chavez 3B
Raul Ibanez LF
Russell Martin C
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Casey McGehee DH

SP: RHP Hiroki Kuroda

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Red Sox outlast Yankees

David Phelps gave the Yankees more than they could have asked for by going 6.2 innings and allowing only three runs, which qualifies as a quality start. Unfortunately for Phelps, Jon Lester was better as he went seven strong innings and allowed just one run on a solo homer by Granderson, his thirty-second long ball of the year. Lester who has been having a terrible year before his last two starts, has found something and used it to his advantage today in the Bronx, making the Yankees look like little leaguers.

The offense did not do anything with men on base today, with Granderson and Swisher combining for four of the five hits Lester gave up today. The Boston bullpen was impressive as well, giving up base runners but not Llowing a run over two innings. This game is one the Yankees should not fret over. They have a good lead in the division and one loss against a team buried in the division will not hurt.

Tomorrow night, ESPN will broadcast the Sunday night game of the week. Hiroki Kuroda will start for the Yankees, coming off his best outing of the year against the Rangers. Josh Beckett will look to put his 2012 struggles behind him as he faces the Yankees look to take the series.

Same lineup as last night

Derek Jeter DH
Nick Swisher 1B
Robinson Cano 2B
Andruw Jones RF
Casey McGehee 3B
Curtis Granderson CF
Russell Martin C
Jayson Nix SS
Ichiro Suzuki LF

SP: RHP David Phelps

Friday, August 17, 2012

Clutch Hits Amount to Yankees defeating Sox

Clutch hits were the reason the Yankees won tonight's game. They hit five home runs in the 6-4 win with the biggest blow coming off Derek Jeter's bat to tie the game and also give him 250 career home runs. The captain keeps hitting and the Yankees keep winning as a byproduct of his renaissance season. Nick Swisher, who has been hot lately kept his hot streak going by homering twice in the game. He hit home runs from both sides of the plate, marking the twelfth time in his career he's done that. Mark Teixeira is the all time leader in that category with 13 multi-homer games from both sides of the plate. Jayson Nix gave the Yankees the lead with his sixth inning RBI single with men on first and third with two outs.

Phil Hughes gave the Yankees a resilient outing by going seven innings and allowing no earned runs. In the fourth inning, Hughes committed an error which allowed Pedroia to come up with two men on and drill a three-run home into the left field seats to tie the game at the time. Hughes buckled down after that and retired thirteen of his last fifteen batters to earn his twelfth win of the season.

Tomorrow, David Phelps will make his first career start against the Boston Red Sox. Jon Lester will go against the Yankees who look unbeatable right now.

No Teixeira in lineup

Derek Jeter DH
Nick Swisher 1B
Robinson Cano 2B
Andruw Jones RF
Casey McGehee 3B
Curtis Granderson CF
Russell Martin C
Jayson Nix SS
Ichiro Suzuki LF

SP: RHP Phil Hughes

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Yankees Lose a Weird One

This game started with Ivan Nova having up and down innings and Derek Holland looking brilliant throughout. In the end, Ivan Nova's bad innings got the best of him and Derek Holland gave up the lead to a Yankee lineup that didn't feature Cano, Granderson, A-Rod or even Eric Chavez. Nova was charged with four runs through 5.2 innings. The inning following Nova's departure, the Yankees got to Derek Holland to take a lead which would be short lived after combining pathetic appearances from Boone Logan and Joba Chamberlain. I don't believe that it's Joba's fault that he struggled. Girardi brought him into a close game with men already on base and made him intentionally walk a batter who should not be getting walked un-intentionally. This was just an all-around bad game for the Yankees when you combine their defense along with their inability to put hitters away and Girardi's inkling to walk Moreland intentionally TWICE. In the eighth inning, Ichiro hit a bloop double with two outs with Cano at first after getting a walk and Cano stopped at third when the ball was not even picked up by an outfielder. Cano has to score on that double and eventually it wouldn't even matter after the Rangers ended up scoring another run in the bottom of the eighth after Ichiro mis-played a fly ball in center field.

No game is easy at the Major League level, but sometimes you have a game in hand that is there for you to win and you as a team, are incapable of winning it. What could have been a sweep ends up with the Yankees giving away a game to the Rangers for them to leave the Bronx with their heads held high. That is not a good feeling to have as a Yankee. Tomorrow, a struggling Boston team enters the Bronx looking forward to playing spoiler to the Yankees. I'll be at the game tomorrow night, and it will be Phil Hughes against Franklin Morales.

Cano out again

Derek Jeter SS
Nick Swisher RF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Andruw Jones LF
Casey McGehee 3B
Russell Martin DH
Jayson Nix 2B
Ichiro Suzuki CF
Chris Stewart C

SP: RHP Ivan Nova

P.S. If the Yankees can win today with this lineup, god bless them.

Yankees Barely Edge Scuffling Rangers

Freddy Garcia got the start for the Yankees tonight in what turned out to be a game with a rain delay of close to two hours. When the game actually started, Garcia was rolling. Garcia left the game with a final line of Yankees-3, Hamilton-2. Other than the two home runs that Garcia served up to Josh Hamilton, he was brilliant for 6.2 innings. Garcia struck out six batters and allowed only four hits in his outing. When two of your top starters go down to injuries, it is important for the pitchers in their place to pick up the slack for the rest of the team. Garcia has been one of two pitchers who has done his job after taking Andy Pettitte's spot in the rotation. Garcia won his seventh game of the year tonight after not being able to buy a victory in the month of April. That is huge for the Yankees who did not lose faith in a broken Garcia in April and May. They stuck with him through his rough start and Garcia rewarded the Yankees with his seventh win of the year tonight.

The Yankees offense did not manage much against Texas pitching tonight but managed to do enough as they scored three runs to the Rangers two runs. Eric Chavez continues his hot hitting by him picking up another three hits on the night. Girardi left him in to face a lefty in the eighth inning and it paid off as he collected a single. Swisher accounted for one of the runs with a bloop RBI double and Granderson had a sac fly.

The Yankees have won their third straight and have now won seven of their last eight games. They have won all three against a Rangers team that was considered the favorite to go to the World Series for a third consecutive time. The Yankees will go for the four-game sweep of the Rangers tomorrow afternoon, something that would give the Yankees another burst of energy for sweeping four games against such a dominant team. Ivan Nova will make the start for the Yankees after his last start against Toronto was a great one. The Yankees will square off against Derek Holland, who has been up-and-down all year.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Cano not in starting lineup

The team says that Cano has a stiff neck.

Derek Jeter SS
Nick Swisher 1B
Curtis Granderson CF
Mark Teixeira DH
Eric Chavez 3B
Raul Ibanez LF
Russell Martin C
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Jayson Nix 2B

SP: RHP Freddy Garcia

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Kuroda BRILLIANT in Complete Game Win

Kuroda tosses nine innings of two-hit baseball
The story of the night was Hiroki Kuroda. The right-hander fired nine shut out innings against a potent Rangers lineup that features the likes of Josh Hamilton, Adrian Beltre, and Michael Young. Kuroda had all Yankee fans on the edge of their seats until the seventh inning when he had a no-hitter going against the Rangers. Hiroki's no-hit bid ended in the seventh when Elvis Andus led off the inning with an infield single to shortstop. After that hit, Kuroda allowed one more hit against Michael Young in the eighth and nothing more. He went the distance and finished with two hits allowed and struck out five batters in the most brilliant game pitched by a Yankee all year. He has been a godsend for the Yankees this year. After a rough start in April, Kuroda has been the Yankees best starting pitcher, even better than CC Sabathia. If the Yankees re-sign Kuroda next year, a full year of being acclimated to the Bronx will make him even better, if that's even possible. This is the second night in a row that the Yankees bullpen has taken a rest and they have Kuroda to thank for it.

The hitting for the Yankees was not there until the seventh inning when Jeter singled against starter Matt Harrison to kick him from the game. Ogando entered and battled Nick Swisher which ended with Swisher taking him out to right-center field for a two-run blast. Teixeira followed with a solo shot to the short porch. Other than those hits, the Yankees offense did nothing. Tonight, it was enough as Kuroda ended up needing only one run. He was the story of the night by and far. My faith in Kuroda has surpassed my faith in Sabathia. Kuroda has shown he has ace stuff and can be counted on to start game three of a playoff series assuming Andy Pettitte is back for the postseason.


After tonight's game, the Yankees are twenty-two games over .500 and have a a two game winning streak against the team with the second best record in the American League. The best record? That would be the Bronx Bombers. Tomorrow, Freddy Garcia will get the ball for the Yankees with a well-rested bullpen. He will face Scott Feldman, who knocked Roy Oswalt out of the starting rotation.

Jeter gets half day off

Derek Jeter DH
Nick Swisher RF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Robinson Cano 2B
Andruw Jones LF
Curtis Granderson CF
Casey McGehee 3B
Russell Martin C
Jayson Nix SS

SP: RHP Hiroki Kuroda

Monday, August 13, 2012

Swisher's Slam Helps Yankees in Victory

Nick Swisher led the Yankee offense today by getting five RBI on two hits. The grand slam that Swisher hit in the Yankees five run third inning was also his two-hundredth career home run. Swisher really likes hitting in the two-hole behind Jeter and in front of Cano. He gets fastballs to hit and can turn them around into the seats.  In addition to Swisher's blast, Eric Chavez collected two more hits tonight with his thirteenth home run of the season. After not playing for three games in Toronto due to a stiff back, Chavez has continued his hot hitting which gives the Yankees an edge over their opponent even though Alex Rodriguez's presence is not in the lineup. Ibanez has started to heat up again after struggling in the batting average category for a couple of months. Derek Jeter extended his hit streak to nine straight games after an RBI double to drive in Ichiro in the seventh.

David Phelps was given the ball today in place of the injured CC Sabathia and gave the Yankees all they could have asked for. After a rough first inning in which he threw twenty-six pitches and gave up a run, Phelps settled down and managed to go five strong, staying within his pitch limit. If the Yankees get this again from Phelps in five days, they will have not missed their ace as much as fans thought they would. David Phelps is a viable option for the starting rotation next year out of spring training. Assuming Freddy Garcia doesn't resign with the Yankees and that Andy Pettitte goes back into retirement, Phelps can slide in as the Yankees fifth starter if they retain Hiroki Kuroda. Another surprise tonight was Derek Lowe. He was called on in relief of Phelps and provided the Yankees with four shut-out innings to collect a save. The Yankees could not have asked for a better all-around team game and that is what they got.


Tomorrow night, Kuroda will get the ball for the Yankees and will pitch against Matt Harrison who has had a terrific year with a 3.31 ERA.

Ichiro batting ninth

Derek Jeter SS
Nick Swisher DH
Robinson Cano 2B
Mark Teixeira 1B
Eric Chavez 3B
Curtis Granderson CF
Russell Martin C
Raul Ibanez LF
Ichiro Suzuki RF

SP: RHP David Phelps

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Hughes gets Rocked

Phil Hughes needed to have a bounce back game after his disaster in Detroit last week. He started the first inning by getting two straight outs. After that, Hughes lost it and did not regain his composure as he would have a final line of four innings pitched, giving up seven runs on nine hits. This is Hughes' second straight start of not giving the Yankees a quality start. It seems as though Hughes gives up after giving up a couple of runs in an inning. You can tell by his face that he is frustrated but you also wonder if he closes up shop after a rough inning. His location has been Hughes' problem all year. Whenever he misses, a pitch leaks back to the heart of the plate and gets hit hard. Rajai Davis and Edwin Encarnacion did most of the damage in this game by getting a combined seven RBI on five hits. Hughes needs to figure his stuff out before October comes around. If Nova is pitching like he pitched yesterday, he can easily take the fourth starting spot over Hughes if he continues to struggle.

The Yankees offense did little off J.A. Happ until mid-game. They were trailing 10-1 at one point before scoring six runs to knock Happ out of the game and reliever Brad Lincoln to the bench as well. The offense did their job. Usually if you score seven runs, a win is expected but today the Yankees were outscored. Jeter had a great game with another three hits and was a triple away from the cycle. Cano drilled a long home run to right field as well. Casey McGehee was robbed of a home run by left fielder Rajai Davis in the seventh inning in the Yankees attempt to come back into the game. What's important is that the Yankees took the series from the Blue Jays and look forward to coming home to face a Rangers starting rotation that has been having problems of late.

Tomorrow, David Phelps will take the ball for the Yankees as he will be on a 75 pitch limit. Opposing Phelps will be Scott Feldman, who is having a nice little run right now. Derek Lowe, who the Yankees acquired after being released by the Indians, will join the club at Yankee Stadium tomorrow, probably to back Phelps after the starter leaves the game.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Sabathia to the DL again

CC Sabathia is headed to the 15 day disabled list for the second time this season. This time, it is because of stiffness in his left elbow. The decision was made minutes ago whether to just skip his next start or to DL the Yankee ace. He first felt stiffness in his first start coming back from the DL. It came back after his last start against Seattle. Girardi said it's a low level of concern. Sabathia will have a cortisone shot in his elbow.

David Phelps will make Sabathia's next scheduled start on Monday against the Rangers. No pitch count has been determined for the young right-hander.

Yankees Make it Four Straight

The Yankees came into the game needing Ivan Nova to give them a stand out performance and he responded to the call by delivering over seven frames of two run baseball. Nova was perfect through three innings and allowed only two runs from that point forward. His slider and curve were outstanding and he used those pitches to get his strikeouts. I noticed that Nova used his fastball sparingly because it was not a pitch that was working for him in his mind. However, Nova battled and managed to give the Yankees a great start that was desperately needed from him by management. Also, it gives Nova a huge boost of confidence to know that his slider has not abandoned him and he can use it to get strikeouts. After Nova left the game with one out in the eighth inning, David Robertson came on and collected the final two out on one pitch when he got veteran Omar Vizquel to ground into a double play.

The Yankee offense was spread out today, mostly by guys who are bench players including the big blow of the game by Casey McGehee. After Nix singled in a run in the fourth inning, McGehee belted a three-run home run into the second deck in left-center field. Girardi has pulled all the right strings when it comes to using his bench. Most importantly, the guys sitting on the bench know that their roles on the team, making it easier for them to play when needed. With this victory, the Yankees have now won four straight games and are twenty-one games over the .500 mark. The Yankees are starting to heat up again and that is important to maintain the lead in their division against hot teams lurking in second and third place.

The Yankees will go for the sweep tomorrow, their second straight sweep of the Blue Jays this season. Tomorrow, Phil Hughes will look for his twelfth win against a beat-up Jays team. J.A. Happ will make his first career start against the Yankees.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Ichiro's Big Game Propels Yankee Win

For much of tonight's game, the Blue Jays kept it close. The Yankees were leading 3-2 for the first two-thirds of the game before blowing it open with insurance runs in the eighth and ninth innings. Leading the charge for the Yankees was Ichiro Suzuki who had two hits and five RBI. The first RBI came on a force play in the second inning with the bases loaded. Later in the game, Ichiro hit the ball hard twice for a single that scored two runs and finally a double that scored a pair. If Ichiro can play the way he has for the past week, he will really help the Yankees achieve their ultimate goal of getting deep into the playoffs and possibly winning big in October. Teixeira has also begun to swing a hot bat which we have seen over the last couple of games with two home runs in the final game of the Detroit series and tonight against the Jays pen. Ricky Romero continues to struggle as he has lost his ninth game of the season with only eight wins. From a lefty ace, the results have not been good and the Blue Jays should be concerned with their horse.

Freddy Garcia keeps proving me wrong by going out and pitching well. He limited the Blue Jays to two runs on five hits. He did not walk a batter and struck out five in the Yankee victory. Garcia has been solid since coming out of the bullpen for the Yankees after a bad April starting games. He will not factor into the Yankees plans for the postseason but he is a very capable fifth starter who will be a valuable piece to a club next year if he can keep it together. After Garcia left the game, Girardi used five relievers to get the final nine outs. Girardi has made many questionable moves lately but his strength is handling the bullpen. He gets guys into their respective spots and avoids trouble when it comes to getting his outs from the pen. With tonight's win the Yankees have won three straight and look like the Yankees of old when they were playing crisp baseball in June and early July.

In tomorrow's matinee game, Ivan Nova looks to straighten himself out against a lineup that is missing a lot of pieces. The Blue Jays will throw out lefty Aaron Laffey to start against the Yankees, who have been money in the bank against left-handed starters this year.

Granderson sits against Romero

Derek Jeter SS
Nick Swisher RF
Mark Teixeira DH
Robinson Cano 2B
Andruw Jones LF
Jayson Nix 3B
Russell Martin C
Ichiro Suzuki CF
Casey McGehee 1B

SP: RHP Freddy Garcia

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Yankees Escape with a Split in a Crazy game

The Yankees entered this game with one goal, and that was to earn a split of the series against the Tigers after losing the first two games of the series. It was not easy, and the Yankees played with fire on several occasions but in the end they leave Detroit with a victory. The one-run win today was the Yankees first of the sort since mid-July against the Angels. They were 0-8 in one run games since then but leave Detroit with a win streak.

The Yankees were not able to muster much off of Tigers starter Doug Fister, but they got two second inning runs thanks to an RBI triple by Ibanez followed by an RBI single by Ichiro. They would not do anymore scoring until the eighth inning when Teixeira and Chavez went back-to-back to give the Yankees the lead after Kuroda gave up three runs in 6.1 innings. The game got interesting in the fifth inning when a ball landed on the line in left field and the umpire called it foul then changed his call to a fair ball, which enabled the Tigers to score the go-ahead run at the time. Girardi was fuming over the call, stated several times to the umpire that he would protest the game, then finally was ejected after being given a lot of lee-way in his argument. After Girardi's ejection, the Yankees were able to come back in the eighth inning off of set-up man Benoit with two straight home runs. The Yankee offense didn't do much today in terms of runs, but they were able to win the game with the runs that were scored.

Kuroda pitched a great game despite giving up three runs to the Tigers. Avila took him deep with a runner on then the third run was scored in the crazy fifth inning when Girardi was thrown out. A bold move by the Yankees was sending out David Phelps in the eighth inning with the meat of the Tigers order coming up. He got two of the three big boppers out then turned it over to Rafael Soriano for the four-out save attempt. Soriano escaped the eighth inning stranding a runner at second. In the bottom of the ninth with a one run lead, he gave up back-to-back hits to Avila and Infante. First and third with no men out ended with a pop up to center field which was caught by Curtis Granderson and the Yankees were able to breathe. I almost popped a vein in my head in that ninth inning because I thought for sure that the tying run would score from third base with nobody out. Soriano did a great job getting out of the inning and the Yankees won.

The Yankees continue their road trip by going to Toronto tomorrow for three against the Blue Jays. Three lefties will face the Yankees as tomorrow night, Freddy Garcia gets the start for the bombers. Chavez's hot bat will have to sit on the bench for the series because of the lefties but if Girardi is feeling bold this weekend, he could run Eric Chavez out for a game or two.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Yankees Edge Tigers in Roller Coaster Game

After Girardi moved Granderson to the sixth spot in the order, Granderson collected three hits and was a triple short of the cycle with four RBI. Each regular in the Yankee lineup got hits tonight and the offense scored ten runs to barely edge out the Detroit Tigers. The Yankees went 8-15 with runners in scoring position and without those hits the Yankees lose another one and New York City and WFAN callers are in panic mode. I can't blame people for being nervous however, because I was sweating bullets from the seventh inning onward. The Tigers are a hot team and it seems as if the Yankees are catching all of these teams at a bad time. The Oakland A's, and the Orioles to name a few. To be honest, it's a blessing that the Yankees have gone 7-13 in this stretch. If the Yankees keep hitting and get runners in from scoring position it will compensate for poor pitching and defense to a certain extent.

Speaking of defense, the Yankees made two errors in tonight's game which led to four unearned runs by the Tigers, enabling them to get close in a game they really had no business winning. CC Sabathia pitched better than his line shows, but what concerns me is Girardi going to Robertson with two outs in the seventh inning when CC Sabathia has 94 pitches thrown and is still in control of the game. Just when you think Girardi turns a corner with the lineup changes, he makes another questionable move. With the Yankees in their funk, Girardi is over-managing to try anything for the Yankees to win a game. Sometimes, those things back-fire. Tonight, it almost did but thankfully, the Yankees were able to compensate with their bad defense with insurance runs in the eighth against Phil Coke and in the ninth against Villarreal. If the Yankees earn a split in this set, it will not be the worst thing in the world considering their play of late.

In the final game starting at 1:05 tomorrow afternoon, Doug Fister will try to give his team the series win over Hiroki Kuroda and the Yankees. Kuroda has the best ERA on the Yankees starting staff and he will put that ERA up against a hot Detroit offense.

Girardi comes to his senses with the lineup

Derek Jeter SS
Nick Swisher RF
Robinson Cano 2B
Mark Teixeira 1B
Eric Chavez DH
Curtis Granderson CF
Russell Martin C
Ichiro Suzuki LF
Casey McGehee 3B

SP: LHP CC Sabathia

Panic Mode

Three weeks ago, the Yankees were sitting pretty atop the American League East with a 10.5 game lead over the second place Baltimore Orioles. Since then, the Yankees have gone 6-18, by far their worst stretch of the season. It all started in the Oakland series where the Yankees were swept in a four game set, each game being decided by one run. After that series, the Yankees have played the Mariners twice and took two out of three both times. They also played Boston and Baltimore and lost two out of three to each of those teams. In this series, the Yankees have made headlines by losing the first two out of four games and can only hope that CC Sabathia gives them a solid performance tonight to break their slide. A split in this series would be just what the doctor ordered for a struggling Yankees team that finds itself with a slim 4.5 game lead after Baltimore won in fourteen innings against the Mariners last night. They are no longer the favorites in the American League to win it all. They have been reduced to a laughing stock over the last three weeks because of their lackluster play.

Eric Chavez was interviewed after last night's loss and stated, "There should be a high level of concern." He also added, "Anybody who says there isn’t is lying. We’ve just got to win ballgames and we’re not finding a way to do that right now. There should be a concern. It’s that time of year where, yeah, it’s a concern. We have to start winning games.” Chavez went 2-4 with a two-run home run in the fourth inning to give the Yankees a temporary 2-0 lead. Chavez is spot on with his honesty, and it gives everyone some insight as to what the tone of the Yankee clubhouse is right now. There is no way the Yankees will win the division unless their starting pitching turns a corner, specifically with CC Sabathia and even more so, Ivan Nova. In a five game series, I don't think Ivan Nova is in the conversation as the fourth starter. Despite Hughes' mediocre performance last night, I believe that he would be the more viable candidate for a game four start.

Adding fuel to the fire is Girardi's decision to bat Granderson leadoff. That is one of the dumbest decisions I have seen by Girardi all season long. If he opens his eyes, he will see that Granderson is possibly the worst option in the lead off spot. I would rather have Raul Ibanez lead off than have to watch Granderson strike out three times in a game. A slump is a slump, meaning if a player is really struggling in the second spot of the batting order, nothing will change if you slot him into the lead off spot. It gives the struggling player an additional at bat that essentially goes to waste. Case and point, last night where Granderson popped out to Fielder to end the game with two on and two out in the top of the ninth inning. Granderson belongs in the bottom part of the order in this lineup and has no business batting first. If I were the manager, the lineup would look like this:

Derek Jeter
Nick Swisher
Robinson Cano
Mark Teixeira
Eric Chavez/Jayson Nix
Raul Ibanez/Andruw Jones
Curtis Granderson
Ichiro Suzuki
Russell Martin

The lineup isn't perfect, but it would vary based on who the Yankees were facing that particular day. The bottom line is that Granderson should be toward the bottom of the lineup with his low batting average and his strikeouts. He is a good fastball hitter, but I want someone else in the top who will provide me with a quality at bat. If Granderson is a true power hitter, it shouldn't matter where he bats.

The Yankees have quite the road ahead of them if they want to keep the top spot in the division. Tampa Bay and Baltimore are heating up and it would be a shame to see the Yankees hard work in the first half go to waste by a terrible finish to the season.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Yankees with a Brutal Loss

Once again, the Yankees lose a one run game that should have been who by them. Phil Hughes' struggles will be the story in this game. He was given a two run lead thanks to Eric Chavez's home run in the fourth inning. He could not tame the red hot Miguel Cabrera who did most of the damage for Tigers against Phil Hughes. Also what made Hughes inefficient in his start was his high pitch count in the fourth and fifth innings. Add those struggles with Miguel Cabrera taking batting practice off of Hughes and the result will not be pretty. Hughes had a chance for the win tonight but he could not contain a lead, similar to what Nova's problem was last night against Verlander.

The Yankee offense was lethargic for the majority of the game. Ichiro had a great night by driving two runners in in a failed comeback but the rest of the offense was largely responsible for the loss along with Hughes poor outing. Granderson in the lead off spot does not sit well with me. He has floundered in that position his whole career and I didn't see a reason for Girardi to mess with an already competent 1-2 slot in the lineup. Granderson will strike out about 180 times this season. Jeter will K half as many times and gives a better at bat. If Girardi has any sense in him, Granderson will be hitting second and Jeter will return to leading off in the near future. The ninth inning was interesting but the Yankees and Curtis Granderson ultimately failed to get the runners in from scoring position.

In what the Yankees hope will be a two game winning streak starting with tomorrow's game, CC Sabathia will take the ball for the Bombers. Anibal Sanchez will start for the Tigers. Hopefully this streak doesn't carry much longer and the Yankees return to playing crisp baseball.

Looks like Granderson Leading off against Righties

Curtis Granderson CF
Derek Jeter SS
Robinson Cano 2B
Mark Teixeira 1B
Eric Chavez 3B
Nick Swisher RF
Raul Ibanez DH
Ichiro Suzuki LF
Russell Martin C

SP: RHP Phil Hughes

Monday, August 6, 2012

Nova Stinks up the Joint, Seriously

The Ivan Nova experience is beginning to get annoying. He has great starts like a stretch earlier in the season then he's awful and makes you cover your eyes. In his past several starts, and in his last two specifically, Nova has been god awful. In those two starts Nova has gone 10.1 innings and allowed twenty-one hits and sixteen earned runs. Those are atrocious statistics for someone who is supposed to be a sinker-ball pitcher. Overall, since the All-Star break Nova has allowed twenty-six earned runs in twenty-eight innings pitched. That comes out to an 8.36 ERA during the stretch. I communicated with Jack Curry during the game via Twitter about the possibility of Nova getting sent down to the minors due to his recent struggles. Curry replied that it was a legitimate question and to stay tuned to how the Yankees react to Nova's performances of late. As much as I love Ivan Nova as a pitcher, I believe he has shown that his mind wanders when he has to make pitches, a tell-tale sign that someone is too comfortable despite getting hit hard. Also, after his last start in which he gave up nine earned runs in five innings, Nova stated that he had good stuff and he felt that he hit his spots and had good command. Nova needs a mind check and a trip to the minors where he spent last June. It may help him re-gain his 2011 form.


Justin Verlander was his usual self tonight, going eight strong innings and allowing two runs, which were both unearned. He gave both runs up after a fielding error on a ground ball in the fifth inning to allow the Yankees to tie the game. Since then, Verlander did not give anything else to the Yankees. When the Yankees tied the game in the fifth, Nova should have buckled down. Instead, Nova gave up the lead and then some. You just can't do that when you are facing an ace. Couple that with a home plate umpire who did not even see the strike zone and your hitters will be very frustrated.

Tomorrow night, the Yankees need to win the game to avoid being down two games to none in the four game set. Taking three straight after this one would be a real confidence booster for the Yankees and one they desperately need after playing mediocre baseball over the last two weeks. Phil Hughes will start for the Yankees, looking for his twelfth win against Rick Porcello and the Tigers.

Granderson leading off again

Curtis Granderson CF
Derek Jeter SS
Robinson Cano 2B
Mark Teixeira 1B
Raul Ibanez LF
Nick Swisher RF
Eric Chavez 3B
Ichiro Suzuki DH
Russell Martin C

SP: RHP Ivan Nova

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Yankees Seal Series Win

Freddy Garcia was getting matched up against Iwakuma today for the rubber game of the three game set against the Seattle Mariners and he gave the Yankees just what they asked for. Garcia provided the Yankees with five innings, giving up two runs on two RBI singles to Jesus Montero, who was the only Mariner with RBI's in the game. Garcia got in trouble with two outs and walked four batters in his start. The bullpen came in and only allowed one base runner in four innings of work. The only base runner was given up by Robertson in the eighth inning with two outs. In other words, the bullpen held up fantastically in the rubber game to help Garcia and the Yankees get the series win against a weak club.

Two unlikely men garnered most of the attention in today's game offensively. Raul Ibanez went 2-4 with a solo home run and a two run single off a lefty in the sixth inning. Raul has been a godsend for the Yankees this season, providing them with big hits and flexibility off the bench as a force who has the ability to change a game. Chris Stewart also had a huge game, going 2-3 with a walk, stolen base and three runs scored! This sounds like the line of a Jeter or a Granderson. Certainly, one would not attach those numbers to Chris Stewart, but nevertheless he came through for the Yankees today. With today's win, the Yankees finished the home stand by going 4-5, not that impressive but it gets the job done when you have a seven game lead in the standings.

The Yankees start a seven game road trip tomorrow night with the first of four against the Tigers. Tomorrow, Justin Verlander will pitch against the Yankees. Ivan Nova will get the start for the Yankees off his horrendous start last Tuesday. The Yankees have done well against Verlander this year. They beat him in Detroit earlier in the season and came back against the bullpen at Yankee Stadium in Verlander's other start against the Yankees in April.

Lineup for series finale

Curtis Granderson CF
Derek Jeter SS
Robinson Cano 2B
Mark Teixeira 1B
Raul Ibanez DH
Nick Swisher RF
Ichiro Suzuki LF
Jayson Nix 3B
Chris Stewart C

SP: RHP Freddy Garcia

Saturday, August 4, 2012

The King Earns his Throne

Today was a day where the Yankees picked the wrong day to face Felix Hernandez. From the first inning on, you knew that Felix had his best stuff. Aside from two early hits, the Yankees were scrambling to even get a base runner. King Felix was outstanding today. It isn't possible to get on the Yankees offense because he did not give them any chances to break through. Every pitch had a meaning and every pitch was executed successfully to the point where the Yankee hitters looked foolish coming to the plate. From each at bat, you knew the Yankees were dead men walking. The best thing for the Yankees to do after this game is to completely forget about it. Not many pitchers are capable of shutting down the Yankees offense. Of the three pitchers who are capable, Felix showed the crowd who was king today.

As Kuroda goes, his stuff was excellent today. On any other day, Kuroda would have won this game but today he pitched against a freak of nature. Hiroki Kuroda continues to be a shining light in the Yankees starting rotation. Had Kuroda not have given up one run, the game still would have probably resulted in a loss as Felix would have pitched ten innings if it was a scoreless tie. Today was a tough luck loss for the Yankees and they have to move on and win tomorrow's game against Iwakuma.

The Yankees will send Freddy Garcia to the mound tomorrow as the Bombers try to win the series against the Mariners in their last match up of the season barring an unlikely comeback by the Mariners to end up in the postseason. The Yankees faced Iwakuma in Seattle and did little against him but came back late in the game against the M's bullpen.

Chavez in the lineup

Curtis Granderson CF
Derek Jeter SS
Robinson Cano 2B
Mark Teixeira 1B
Raul Ibanez DH
Nick Swisher RF
Eric Chavez 3B
Ichiro Suzuki LF
Russell Martin C

SP: RHP Hiroki Kuroda

Sabathia Mows down the M's

CC Sabathia came into tonight needing a win in the biggest way, not only because of how the team has played recently but also because he has not been dominant in a very long time and the fans needed to see CC pitch a representative game tonight. He didn't face a hefty lineup but a Major League lineup is still a Major League lineup and twenty-seven outs need to be recorded. Sabathia was breezing through the game and until the ninth inning, had given up only one hit which happened to be a home run. The ninth inning was a tad tumultuous for CC but he recorded twenty-seven outs and the game went into the book as a complete game for CC Sabathia. The Yankees bullpen has been taxed of late and by giving them two full days off, they enter tomorrow's game re-energized and ready to go in case Kuroda does not pitch well. If Sabathia struggled against this Mariners lineup, I would start to get worried. This start was no litmus test for the big lefty, but it proved that his stuff is able to get out Major League players.

Kevin Millwood gave his team a decent effort tonight but ended up getting the loss. He started the game off nicely but the third inning was not nice to him as he allowed a two-run single to Curtis Granderson. Eric Chavez chipped in as well with his tenth home run of the season. Chavez continues to be an invaluable part of this roster and his power only proves that he still has a lot left in the tank. The Yankees need to bring him back next year and make that their first priority after locking up Cano and Granderson. With Alex Rodriguez slowly transitioning into a designated hitter, the Yankees need a veteran third baseman who is reliable on a day in, day out basis. The Yankees offense continues to produce with men like Ibanez and Chavez leading the pact in tonight's game.

Tomorrow afternoon, Felix Hernandez makes another start against the Yankees, his third of the year. His previous outing against them in Seattle was dominant but he was hit around in his last start in the Bronx. King Felix will be pitching against Hiroki Kuroda, who has been unbelievably good since May.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Teixeira back in the lineup

Curtis Granderson CF
Derek Jeter SS
Robinson Cano 2B
Mark Teixeira 1B
Raul Ibanez DH
Nick Swisher RF
Eric Chavez 3B
Ichiro Suzuki LF
Russell Martin C

SP: LHP CC Sabathia

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Yankees Avoid Sweep with Blowout

On a day that threatened the Yankees with rain, they managed to salvage the final game of the three game set against the Baltimore Orioles. They did so in dramatic fashion, scoring twelve runs highlighted by a Robinson Cano grand slam, the Yankees eighth grand slam of the year. The Yankees eight grand slams on the season are the highest number in the American League. The next best AL team has four grand slams. The offense managed to get Zach Britton out of the game in the third inning after getting more runners on which led to the Cano grand slam against reliever Kevin Gregg. Cano looks to be coming out of his slump with a home run in each of the last two days. Jeter continues his hot hitting with an additional three hits today. His batting average on the season is now at .316. This is the kind of game the Yankee offense needed after losing four straight which they could have easily held on to. The Yankees remain one of three teams in baseball that have avoided a five game losing streak.

Phil Hughes did not impress anyone today, but the Yankees scored him eleven runs early and he held on to the lead, as opposed to what Ivan Nova did yesterday after being given a five run lead in the first inning. Hughes allowed nine hits and struck out only two batters in six innings of work. He was not fooling anyone today but the Orioles still had trouble getting the big hit. Hughes ended up pitching six innings and allowed one run to earn his eleventh win of the season. In the seventh inning, Girardi called on Joba Chamberlain to make his season debut. Joba went 1.2 innings and allowed two runs. His fastball was not as impressive as it was during his minor league appearances. His fastball sat at 92-93 MPH and he threw his slider a lot. Not an impressive debut but he got his work in which is what the Yankees wanted before putting him in any important situations.

The Yankees have an off-day tomorrow but welcome the Seattle Mariners to Yankee Stadium on Friday night. Felix Hernandez is scheduled to pitch on Saturday afternoon. Can the Yankees give him some payback after he drilled A-Rod? It should be an interesting weekend to see how the Yankees respond to a bad team playing them at home.

Nova Implodes as Yankees Drop Another

The Yankees came out of the gate swinging. They scored five first inning runs against Baltimore starter Chris Tillman. In the second inning, Nova put the first two men on and proceeded to get two straight outs until his nightmare started. The inning ended up scoring seven for Baltimore as Nova gave up a grand slam to Chris Davis and other run scoring hits prior to the home run. He did not have control of any of his pitches tonight and struggled mightily against the Baltimore lineup, which does not feature many great hitters. Adam Jones and Matt Wieters, their best hitters, probably did the least amount of damage against Nova. Ivan Nova has the stuff to be an ace on a staff. He has a devastating curveball and a slider that baffles hitters when it is on. His fastball is above average as it hits 94 MPH on the gun consistently. When he finds out how to combine all of those pitches for strikes, then he will be able to become that stud we have all seen flashes of. Quick side-bar, but AJ Burnett threw a one hit shutout against the Cubs and did not allow the hit until the eighth inning.

Moving forward, the Yankees offense was stagnant after the crazy first inning, as they did not score another run the rest of the game. The energy was sucked out of the crowd after Davis hit a grand slam and did not seem to re-appear for the remainder of the game. Jeter was the only bright spot in the lineup, as he collected three hits to raise his season average to .312. The rest of the lineup did nothing in the game.

Before the game, the Yankees traded Chad Qualls to the Pirates in exchange for Casey McGehee. The third baseman had a monster year for Milwaukee two years ago and the Yankees will try to capture lightning in a bottle as they acquire him as insurance while Alex Rodriguez is out of the lineup. Also, Joba Chamberlain was activated from the disabled list prior to tonight's game but did not pitch. I was at the game, so it would have been a great experience to see the stadium's reactions to Joba's debut after not pitching for over a year.

Tomorrow afternoon, the Yankees will try to close the series out with a victory against the Orioles as they send out Phil Hughes to the mound. The Orioles will counter with Zach Britton, a young lefty making his first start of the year against the Yankees.