D-Backs play HR Derby, pound Yanks in opener

Some late night listening with RAB
How to identify a slumping offense

Coming off two satisfying wins against their crosstown rivals, the Yankees caught a cross country flight to the site of one of their most heart wrenching losses, the scorching hot desert of Arizona. Temperatures outside the park checked in at 102-degrees, but the temperature inside was probably even higher because of all the missiles the Diamondbacks hit on Monday.

Photo Credit: Ross D. Franklin, AP

LaRoche Plates Three With One Swing

A.J. Burnett started the night having allowed six homeruns in three starts this year, and he definitely gave them up early an often in the series opener. The most damning of the three first inning shots was Adam LaRoche’s three run bomb over the pool in right-center on the first pitch he saw. It was instant deflation. The Yanks are struggling on offense, and that blast put them in a four run hole that felt like forty. Solo homers are one thing, but those three run shots are the ones that’ll kill ya.

Teixeira Kills A Mini-Rally

It wasn’t much, and the game was basically in the bag by this point, but the Yanks made a little bit of noise in the 7th inning when Brett Gardner and Nick Swisher sandwiched two singles around a pair of fly outs. Instead of taking advantage of the opportunity, Mark Teixeira let Rodrigo Lopez off the hook by hacking at a first pitch changeup on the outer half, popping it up harmlessly to shallow right field. He must lead the league in those. If nothing else, at least make Lopez sweat a little man.

Two Outs, None On

Photo Credit: Ross D. Franklin, AP

For the fifth time in his last eight starts, Burnett allowed at least six runs to score, doing one better and spotting the Diamondbacks seven runs in just four innings of work. Sure, the sheer number of runs hurt, but you know what really ticks me off? That all seven of those runs scored after their were two outs in the inning AND there was no one on base.

The 1st inning started out rather easily for A.J., he needed just nine pitches to coax a harmless fly out and a ground ball out of Kelly Johnson and Stephen Drew, respectively. The Justin Upton came to the plate with two outs and jumped all over a 94 mph fastball that ran back over the plate, sending it just to the right of the huge batter’s eye in dead center. The homer stunk, but one run in the first inning is hardly insurmountable. Well, except when you let four more runs score in the inning, which Burnett did.

Single, single, homer, homer, double went Arizona’s next five batters, and it wasn’t until the pitcher came to the plate that Burnett was able to escape the inning. The D-Backs pushed another run across in the 2nd, when Upton singled with two outs in front of Miguel Montero’s double. Same thing in the 4th inning. Two quick outs, Upton walks, steals second, scored on a Montero single. Like clockwork.

Photo Credit: Ross D. Franklin, AP

If you give up a solo homer with two outs once in a while, I can live with that. When you allow seven runs to score when there was no one on base and two outs in the inning, yeah, that’s hard to forgive. Luckily the Yankees have enough pitching depth to absorb this bad stretch of starts by Burnett, but the AL East is so tight this year, they need him to at the very least give them a chance to win every five days. He hasn’t been doing that for the last month and a half.

The Bad Stuff

How the hell do you let Rodrigo frickin’ Lopez start the 8th inning with just 87 pitches thrown? That’s just terrible. All this “he had them off balance all night” stuff is getting really old, really quick. Jamie Moyer, Kyle Kendrick, and now Lopez. Apparently everyone in the Yankee lineup is geared for 92+ and can’t adjust. Frustrating as hell.

Chan Ho Park … I dunno what it is with him, but he always seems to get lit up in his second inning of work. You’d think Joe Girardi would have realized this by now. I feel like CHoP could be a lot better if used differently, but no excuses, he has to pitch better when called upon.

I don’t know if it was the roof or what, but didn’t it seem like the outfielders had a tough time picking the ball tonight? Not just the Yanks either, a few D-Backs’ outfielders got a few late break as well.

Photo Credit: Ross D. Franklin, AP

Some Good Stuff

Nick Swisher clubbed his third triple of the season, setting a new career with 55.6% of the season left to play. At age-29, Swishahouse is enjoying the best season of his career, which is not entirely unexpected. Where would the Yanks be without him?

Big ups to Colin Curtis for making his big league debut tonight, even though it was just a pinch hitting appearance and he made an out. He’s the fourth player to make their big league debut for the Yanks this season, join Chad Huffman, Kevin Russo, and Ivan Nova.

Brett Gardner is on some kind of hot streak, he’s 99 for his last 100. Okay fine, he’s seven for his last 11 in the last three games, but that’s still awesome. The little guy is hitting .324/.404/.428 in 257 plate appearances. Again, where would the Yanks be without him?

As much as A-Rod is struggling, he drove the ball with authority to right-centerfield twice tonight. Once for a double, once for an out to the deepest part of the park. Hopefully this is the start of something big.

WPA Graph & Box Score

Blah. Here’s the box, here’s the nerd.

Up Next

Despite the loss, the Yankees will wake up Tuesday morning still in first place. These same two teams will go at it again later this evening, though the game starts at 9:40 pm ET, a little earlier than Monday’s contest. Andy Pettitte gets the ball against a suddenly homer prone Danny Haren.

Some late night listening with RAB
How to identify a slumping offense
  • Carlosologist

    Alex will go deep three times tomorrow. Book it. He’s already shown flashes of his opposite field power. Imagine if he can pull the ball against a pitcher who has a HR/9 of 1.6 this season in a hitter’s haven.

    • BigBlueAL

      For his career though Haren has not been that easy to hit HR’s off.

      • Salty Buggah

        His 1.6 HR/9 is high but he has a HR/FB of 14.1% this year & his career HR/FB is 11.1%, so it’s not like he’s way too far from his career levels. I mean, it definitely is higher, but it isn’t as insane as it was earlier in the year.

  • Salty Buggah

    Yanks hit 19 flyballs, 6 groundballs, and K’ed only twice today.

    Just one of those games. Everything the Yanks hit hard landed in a glove. All 10 runs were scored with 2 outs, so they were maybe 2-3 pitches away from having a good of chance of winning this. Oh well, nothing we can do now, except move on to tomorrow.

    • Ivan

      Yeah it seem it was one of those “It’s not your day no matter what” type games.

      • RL

        Too many of these lately.

  • Ivan

    By the way, im not giving lopez any credit. None. He Sucks. Hwas fucking lucky thats all.

    • Ivan

      He Was*

    • erik

      he was not inappropriate LUCKY dude.. we needed it.. just hide in your hole and watch haren beat NY again

      • lenn23

        I can’t tell with this comment. Are you for us or against us?

        • http://www.soxandpinstripes.typepad.com/ Angelo

          I’m guessing against. Never seen his name here before.

          • Rick in Boston

            I’m with you, but it’s because everything up to the word ‘just’ made no sense.

            • Brian in NH

              First of all…there are D-Backs fans?

              Secondly…why would an alleged D-Backs fan be trolling a Yankees site?

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUvg7Empjfg Captain Jack

    Is there really an argument that Chevy DOESN’T belong in the major league bullpen? Also, WTF is wrong with AJ? Is he hiding an injury? I mean…the 200 IP season isn’t exactly his calling card.

  • Carlosologist

    Concerning AJ, I wouldn’t be opposed to seeing his next start skipped in order to get him to smooth out his mechanics a la what they did with Javy.

    • Salty Buggah

      Eh, I don’t think that’s going to help. For Javy, it was something alarming, because something was very wrong when you consider how his stuff, location, command, etc. were all off, and Javy normally has not been that bad. AJ seemingly always goes through stretches like these. I think he’ll come out of it soon enough and be “normal” AJ, which means a high-3 or low-4 ERA. In his career, he has a slightly lower in the 2nd half anyway. If he doesn’t, then you somewhat drastic measures like skipping a start.

      However, I will admit that his low K’s (only 6.49 K/9 compared to a career number of 8.27%) and a percentage of swinging strikes that has dropped 3 straight years from 10.3% in 2008 to 7.1% in 2010 so far (Career is 10.2%) are not encouraging signs. Also, his BABIP is barely higher than his career mark so bad luck isn’t the problem, and he isn’t inducing more groundballs (if someone thinks he’s trying to pitch to contact), as his GB% is a bit lower this career percentage.

      Of course, all of these numbers are derived from a SSS, so they are flawed. I think AJ will probably be fine as the season progresses.

      • Salty Buggah

        Proof-reading fail on my part.

  • http://www.wiredtowns.com Short Porch

    Is it Chan Ho Suck or Chan Ho Blow?

    They should call up Ahmadinejad or whatever his name is. Can’t be worse.

    • Cecala

      Jon Albaladejo. At least make it sound like you know what you are talking about.

      • Brian in NH

        He takes the time to know how to spell Ahmadinejad but can’t bother to know how to spell (or even know the name of) Albaladejo? WTF people

        • http://www.wiredtowns.com Short Porch aka Master of the Obvious

          In the mitt, and the bat’s still on the shoulder.

    • Accent Shallow

      Park shouldn’t be in a major league bullpen (or at least not in the Yankees’ bullpen), but as much as he sucks, (a lot) this game isn’t his fault.

  • Jimmy

    This was a great read.

  • Mitch

    Burnett is 0-4 with a 10.35 ERA. In 20 innings he has given up 29 hits, nine of which are homers, and 11 walks. It is a terrible stretch and he is a veteran who should be able to adapt. His mechanics are bad and if Eiland were here I’m sure he would try to simplify his motion.

    Having said that, I’m concerned that the Yanks’ offense doesn’t look smooth unless they are hitting the long ball. They have stopped trying to build runs.

    • Brian in NH

      Give credit to Swish and Gardner…I feel like they are still doing what they can to score runs (Bunt singles anyone?) We were lucky with guys like Cervelli coming in and giving some unexpected performances but you can’t rely on bench guys over the long haul. They are really replacement players.

      Maybe a combination of some bad luck, injuries (also bad luck), and age is taking its toll this year?

    • Rose

      Good point. Once Hughes isn’t allowed to throw anymore…or is moved to the pen or whatever…the rotation will take a huge hit. Burnett looks absolutely atrocious out there.

      And I have to agree with John Smoltz when he says that “innings limits” are ridiculous and stupid.

      • Andrew

        Where and when has there been any indication that Hughes won’t be allowed to throw anymore or be moved to the bullpen permanently in ’10? Skipping starts is how they seem to be dealing with his innings limit, and there will be enough chances to do it and keep him at the # they want him.

        Furthermore him missing a start here or there does not equal the rotation taking some huge hit. There are 4 other very capable starters with good to very good track records, regardless of this bad stretch by Burnett.

        • Rose

          What are they going to do when or if the Yankees make it to the playoffs though?

          See: 2009 Joba Chamberlain

          • Andrew

            What does the postseason have to do with the rotation taking some major hit right now, exactly? It has no bearing on the current situation. Either way, for innings limits concerns + the playoffs ask Brian Cashman, whose quotes are out there on the interwebs of him explicitly saying that innings limits are out the window in the postseason. Also last year Chamberlain to the ‘pen was more obvious since he didn’t distinguish himself the same way Hughes has as a starter and they thought 2007 Joba was just going to walk through that clubhouse door when he was told to pitch in the late innings. Right now Hughes is arguably the #3 starter if the playoffs started today. Much different scenario across the board

            • Doug

              just a guess but if the playoffs started today, yankee starters in the playoffs would be cc, aj, and pettitte.

            • Rose

              What does the postseason have to do with the rotation taking some major hit right now, exactly? It has no bearing on the current situation.

              My post you commented on said absolutely nothing about Phil Hughes or the rotation in regards to the current situation.

              Once Hughes isn’t allowed to throw anymore…

              I don’t know how this sounds like anything immediate. I was pointing at AJ’s ineffectiveness…and making a point that once Hughes is presumably removed (at any point in time) it will be a huge hit. Even more major of a hit if AJ doesn’t turn things around.

              Other than that…I agree with you. They do seem to be skipping starts here and there during the season instead of just pulling him or moving him to the pen (in the regular season anyway). As for the postseason…who knows. There’s still 55% of the regular season left to play so anything could happen I guess. I was just making conversation. No hard feelings.

              • Andrew

                Present or future timing ignored as semantics, my main point was just that I across the board disagree with the notion that Hughes will no longer be in the rotation at some point in the season, be it in the regular or postseason. His value as a SP is extremely high, and considering they did something very unorthodox last postseason that luckily worked beautifully (3 starters only) it would seem like having 4 solid starters, with Hughes being 1 of them, would be pretty valuable come this October, if the Yankees are playing.

                • Rose

                  Agreed. That would be the smartest thing to do…and a 4th starter probably won’t have too many starts in the postseason anyway (3 tops? – assuming you go all the way til the end). You probably wouldn’t start at all in the first series.

          • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

            Don’t you understand that the entire point of skipping starts now is so that he has enough bullets left to pitch effectively in October? I mean … HELLO.

            • Rose

              Haha I hope you’re right, Mike. And you usually are you bastard…lol

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

              I mean … HELLO.

              HELLO?!? YOU PLAY TO WIN THE GAME!!!

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

        And I have to agree with John Smoltz when he says that “innings limits” are ridiculous and stupid.

        Because you’re a fan who wants instant gratification. The Yankees are an organization that has made a huge investment in Phil Hughes, and they’d like to not overextend him. He’s never thrown more than 146 innings in a season. Why would you let him throw 200 this year?

        • Rose

          I’m all for everything in moderation…but some random guy started giving innings limits to all his pitchers and then everybody else jumped on the bandwagon.

          I mean Smoltz threw 96 innings in 1986 for Lakeland…then the very next year throws 146 innings. He’s 19 and 20 years old here…and then in 1987 he throws another 146 innings then the following year he throws another 135 innings in the minors only to throw an additional 64 in the majors (totaling 199 innings). He then went on to throw over 200 innings the following 5 seasons in a row.

          In 2005, Verlander threw 118.2 innings in the minors and 11.1 in the majors. Very next year he throws 186 innings…and the next 3 years in a row reaches at least 200 IP.

          Just saying…it isn’t entirely necessary to overreact with “innings” counts. Which in itself is the most arbitrary measure (though we’ve discusses this before). Because you can throw anywhere between 3 pitches to 40+ pitches per inning.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

            but some random guy started giving innings limits to all his pitchers and then everybody else jumped on the bandwagon.

            That: not remotely how it happened.

            • Rose

              That was actually a non-verbatim quote taken from John Smoltz himself on the MLB Network.

              • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

                What John Smoltz thinks about pretty much anything doesn’t mean virtually anything to me.

  • Rose

    Rodrigo Lopez

    Career Vs. Yankees: 134.2 IP, 5.75 ERA, 1.53 WHIP, 157 hits and 31 HR allowed, 49 BB

    Last 6 starts (before last nights game): 40 IP, 5.85 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 46 hits and 8 HR allowed, 10 BB

    Last Nights Game: 8 IP, 3.37 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 8 hits and 0 HR allowed, 2 BB

    Pretty bad.

  • Rose

    Pretty typical. You get Javy Vazquez back on track and then coincidentally somebody else has to forget how to pitch effectively to take his spot. Heaven forbid everybody is on the same page and performing well at the same time.

    I understand it happens…but HOW it happens is the frustrating part. It was almost like they tagged each other in or something. Vazquez stops stinking and almost instantly – Burnett picked up right where he left off…

  • The Three Amigos

    FREE DAVE EILAND… have they released any information on why he is missing?

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

    I blame Lady Gaga.

  • https://twitter.com/YankeesGalaxy YankeesGalaxy

    Game plan for tonight’s game

    Andy Pettitte needs to be the stoppa: I can guarantee he isn’t gonna throw Subway 5 dollar foot long meat balls against the D-Backs like AJ did for the last 3.1 innings of his outing.

    Dan Haren: The Yankees offense will probably wake up because they’re not facing a crap pitcher. And also cause he gave up 18 hrs already.