Triple-A Scranton (10-0 win oer Rochester)
Brett Gardner: 1 for 3, 2 R, 3 BB, 1 K, 1 SB – played the entire game in CF, so he’s close to coming back
Colin Curtis: 2 for 4, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2 BB
Cody Ransom: 0 for 5, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 3 K
Shelley Duncan: 1 for 5, 1 2B, 3 RBI, 1 K – sitting at 98 RBI … he’s got three more games to get to century mark
Juan Miranda: 0 for 3, 2 BB, 2 K
John Rodriguez: 1 for 2, 2 R, 1 RBI, 2 BB
Reegie Corona & Doug Bernier: both 2 for 5, 1 K – Corona homered & drove in two … Bernier drove in a run & scored twice
Brian Peterson: 1 for 4, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K
Jason Hirsh: 0.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 1-0 GB/FB - 6 of 9 pitches were strikes … he came out of the game with an injury after making a play on a soft grounder out in front of the plate … maybe he rolled an ankle or something… hopefully it’s not something serious, they’re going to need him in the playoffs
Luke Prihoda: 3.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 1-6 GB/FB – 32 of 49 pitches were strikes (65.3%) … now that’s some quality long relief
Amaury Sanit:  2.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 2-5 GB/FB – 18 of 26 pitches were strikes (69.2%)
Zach Kroenke: 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 3-4 GB/FB – 20 of 26 pitches were strikes (76.9%)

Scranton has already clinched it’s fourth straight division title. The first came when they were still affiliated with the Phillies, the last three have come under the Yankees’ watch. They’ll take on either Durham or Gwinnett in Round One (best-of-five series) of the playoffs when they start on Sept. 9th.

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The most important groin in the history of the universe was tested today, as Mariano Rivera took to the Rogers Centre bullpen mound before this afternoon’s game for a 20-pitch bullpen session. Marc Carig reports that there were no ill effects, and Mo could be available as soon as tomorrow.

“Feels good,” Rivera said. “No problems at all.”

“I have to make sure to keep up with my things, keep up with that,” Rivera said of his treatment regimen.

Manager Joe Girardi said he will manage Rivera’s outings a little more carefully the rest of the month to make sure he’s good to go in the playoffs. With an 8.5 game lead in the division (thanks, Gavin Floyd) and the magic number sitting pretty at 19 (notice the counter in the sidebar) with just 26 games to go, that shouldn’t too tough.

Thank goodness Mo will be back soon, I don’t know how much longer I can stomach these “four batters faced, three strikeouts” performances I can handle from Phil Hughes.

* * *

Here’s your open thread for the evening. The Tigers and Rays are on MLB Network, and there’s more college football than you’d know what to do with on TV. You can also come chill with me at MLBTR. Anything goes here, just be nice.

Categories : Injuries, Open Thread
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A day after mustering just one hit off Roy Halladay, the Yankees offense was back in full force on Saturday. They took Brett Cecil to town, knocking him around for seven hits, including two homers, and three walks in 4.1 innings. Only a few missed opportunities with runners in scoring position kept them from blowing the game open. Andy Pettitte pitched well enough, and the Yankees took home a 6-4 victory.

Statistically, this was Pettitte’s worst start since the Red Sox hit him for seven runs over five innings a few weeks ago. Still, it wasn’t that bad in terms of results, especially considering when the runs scored. The Yankees led the entire time, save for a third of an inning where the Jays had tied it.

It was quite a short third of an inning, too. It ended on the very play on which Toronto tied it, as Robinson Cano relayed a throw home to get Jose Bautista at home — though he kinda looked safe. Mark Teixeira would give the Yankees the lead once again, leading off the next inning with a homer.

The one-run lead was in tact heading into the sixth, and the Yankees gave themselves some breathing room. With runners on first and second and two outs A-Rod slapped one back up the middle to plate a run. Posada followed with a single to right, giving the Yanks an airy three-run lead. That would prove important after the bottom of the inning.

The Yanks made a number of defensive miscues in this game, but I wouldn’t count Jose Bautista’s line drive in the sixth among them. Yes, Melky could have played that better, but it was a liner over his head, and he did a decent job of getting there. Adding to the difficulty of the play, the ball was going from sunshine to shade. It wasn’t the cleanest defensive play, but it’s tough to begrudge Melky for it. Not many center fielders would have caught that.

The Jays added two runs on that play, but the Yanks bullpen would make sure that one-run lead stuck. After having troubles with the first hitter he faced, David Robertson settled down and retired the next three hitters. The kid has definitely earned his promotion in the pecking order.

Brian Bruney came out to hold the one-run lead in the eighth, and he showed flashes of himself from earlier this year. It’s thankful that he was to face the latter end of the order, but Cito Gaston threw a monkey wrench in that by pinch hitting Adam Lind. Bruney took care of that, though, blowing a fastball by the lefty for strike three. He did himself no favors by walking Bautista, but Phil Hughes, after a couple days off, was ready to go for the four-out save. A strikeout of pinch hitter Travis Snider led to the ninth.

As mentioned, the Yanks made a number of defensive misplays, and also an offensive one. The first one came in the fifth when Aaron Hill bounced one back to Pettitte. Andy turned and fired to second, and Derek Jeter had to scramble to grab the ball and not let it go into center field. Robinson Cano was the man to cover on that play, but he apparently did not know that. Poor form, but it looked like Mick Kelleher straightened it out with him after the inning.

The next was Pettitte’s own fault. On the Bautista liner over Melky’s head, Pettitte ran to back up home plate. Unfortunately, it was clear that Edwin Encarnacion, whom Pettitte made the mistake of walking, would score. Pettitte should have been backing up third, and if he had he might have been able to recover the inaccurate throw. He was still behind home plate, though, and Bautista scored on the overthrow.

The offensive miscue came in the top of the eighth. Scott Downs didn’t look particularly effective. He hit Mark Teixeira in the foot with a pitch, and then walked Alex Rodriguez on four pitches, loading the bases for Jorge Posada. Downs threw two straight balls to Posada, marking his seventh straight out of the zone. So what did Posada do? Swung at the next pitch, far from an ideal one, bouncing it up the middle. Marco Scutaro did make a great play to start the inning-ending double play, but that doesn’t mean Posada was right to swing at the pitch. On a grass field that play likely would have been a lot easier.

The Yankees did hit the ball hard all night, and every starter except Hairston picked up a base hit. They hit a decent 5 for 19 with runners in scoring position, but man, when you put that many men on second and third, you’d like to bring a few more of them home. Again, the Yanks let the Jays off the hook a few times, and it nearly came back to bite them. The revamped bullpen, though, helped avert disaster.

Series closer tomorrow, Sergio Mitre, on some long rest, against Brian Tallet. Funny, when Tallet entered the rotation from the pen earlier in the year, I thought it would be a temporary thing — a band-aid for a hurting pitching staff. He’s made it all the way to September, though it hasn’t all been pretty. Yanks go for the series win at 1:00.

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Andy cost himself a run there.

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It seems like every time the Yankees have a winning streak snapped this season, they just start up another one. They’ll look to do that today against the Jays. They had Roy Halladay on the mound last night, and when he’s on there’s really no stopping him. That a lesser pitcher is on the mound clearly bodes well for the Yankees this afternoon.

That lesser pitcher is Brett Cecil. Toronto drafted him with the 37th pick in the 2007 draft out of the University of Maryland. He was a closer there, starting just six games in his two years as a Terp. The Jays thought he had good stuff, and knowing that starters are more valuable than relievers, immediately converted him, giving him 13 starts in low-A ball after the draft.

After pitching 112 innings between college and pro ball in 07, Cecil touched three levels in 2008: A+, AA, and AAA. He pitched well at each stop and racked up 108.2 innings. He started this year at Las Vegas, where the hitter-friendliness of the Pacific Coast League seemingly caught up with him. His ERA ballooned to 5.69 over his 49 inning there, and his strikeout rate fell precipitously.

With their rotation one by one hitting the DL, the Jays called up Cecil to start against the Indians on May 5. He had three good starts to open his career, including an eight-inning, zero-run performance against Oakland in his second start. Since then he’s been a mixed bag, having some excellent starts mixed with some absolute clunkers.

One of those clunkers came against the Yankees, back on July 5. Joba Chamberlain also pitched horribly, but the Yanks got enough off Cecil and B.J. Ryan* to win the game. Cecil allowed seven runs on nine hits and five walks over 3.2 innings. The Yanks could sure use some of that hittin’ today.

* The Jays released Ryan after that appearance, adding to the list of pitchers who were released after the Yankees hammered them.

The Yanks look for some help from old-time stopper Andy Pettitte. I remember watching games back in the day, during Pettitte’s first stint with the team, and the commentators always noting his incredible record in games following Yankee losses. He’ll get a chance to improve on that today. It will be his first September start after a mind-blowing August, where he was 6-0 — 6-0! — with a 2.50 ERA. And that included the rough five-inning start against Boston.

Joe Girardi has expressed his desire to rest all of his starters down the stretch, but it seems that no one has rested more than Johnny Damon. He gets another day off today against the lefty Cecil. Curiously, Eric Hinske gets another start, so it doesn’t seem to just be a platoon thing for Damon. Keeping him fresh for the playoffs is of the utmost importance.

Oh, and Josh Towers has joined the team. He’ll work in long relief to start, possibly getting a spot start later in the month. I’m wondering if Jason Hirsh makes his way up soon enough, but that would require finagling another 40-man spot. The Yanks released Kevin Cash to make room for Towers.

Lineup:

1. Derek Jeter, SS
2. Nick Swisher, 1B
3. Mark Teixeira, DH
4. Alex Rodriguez, 3B
5. Jorge Posada, C
6. Robinson Cano, 2B
7. Jerry Hairston, LF
8. Melky Cabrera, CF
9. Eric Hinske, RF

And on the mound, number forty-six, Andy Pettitte.

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  • Question about Joba
    By

    Ok, so I’m not particularly inspired to write much about the Yankees this morning, and there’s not any real news to share. So instead I’ll ask a question that I’ve had a tough time answering.

    If Joba Chamberlain continues pitching like this over his next two or three starts, is there any chance the Yankees just shut him down? Say he throws three more starts and goes 4, 4, and 5 innings. That’ll put him right around 150 innings. If he’s still struggling, then it would be tough to trust him in a playoff game. So if you can’t trust him in a playoff game, and he’s at 50 more innings than last year, and 30 more innings than the all-time high he set in 2005 (or 2006, depending on how you look at it), why not just have him pack it in?

    I hope this is just a mental exercise and that Joba does right what’s been wrong over his past four or five starts. But it’s starting to build up. He’s struggled with command at times, and then when he’s throwing strikes guys are hitting him. Things are not looking good right now, not by any stretch.

    I’m leaning towards shut down in the above-mentioned situation. The idea is to balance the short- and long-term aspects of Joba’s development, and if he’s not pitching well then he’s not helping the team in the short term. If he’s not helping the team in the short term and he’s already at so many more innings and pitches thrown over last year, I think the best move is to have him pack it in. Thoughts?
    · (102) ·

Not much to say about last night’s game, so let’s cover it bullet-point style.

  • Joba made some good pitches, but he made a lot more poor pitches. The Pena error in the first hurt, but it’s not like Joba was cruising to that point. Aaron Hill’s double, just out of Eric Hinske’s reach, was well hit, and Adam Lind doubled on a very hittable fastball. There’s no way to sugar coat the six hits he allowed and two he walked. It’s massively disappointing.
  • I think PeteAbe says it well: “The idea was to see improvement and it wasn’t there. Don’t focus on the runs or the misplays in the field, focus on the quality of Toronto’s swings and that Joba had only four pitches that produced a swinging strike. Two were by past-his-prime Kevin Millar.”
  • I wonder if the offense was at all affected by the grueling first inning. Yes, Roy Halladay is excellent, but this is a team that had scored 57 runs over its past seven games. Perhaps, the saying goes, it was a market correction. Halladay did have an uncharacteristically poor August.
  • Nice piece of hitting by Ramiro Pena on a misplaced Roy Halladay curveball in the sixth. Figures that it was the Yanks only hit of the night.
  • I bolted after the fourth inning and went to see Extract. Funny flick, definitely up to Mike Judge’s standard. I’d say I enjoyed Ben Affleck’s character, but then it would be memorialized for all eternity on the Internets.
  • Anyway, came back and fired up the game archive. Jumped to the sixth to see Ramiro’s double, and then went to the bottom of the seventh to watch Mike Dunn’s debut. I wish I hadn’t. All I could think of was Harry Doyle. “Low, and he walks the bases loaded on 12 straight pitches. How can these guys lay off pitches that close?”
  • Not only can we look forward to having Derek Jeter and Nick Swisher in the lineup today, but there’s a pitcher who might go more than four innings. Andy Pettitte against Brett Cecil tomorrow at one. I do like day games after tough losses.
  • Oh, and of course, magic number is down to good old O’Neill. Paul Byrd got hammered. Nice.
Categories : Game Stories
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Zach McAllister was In The Team Photo of this week’s Prospect Hot Sheet for the second time in three weeks.

Triple-A Scranton (7-3 win over Rochester)
Brett Gardner: 0 for 3, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 SB – played six innings in the field
Freddy Guzman: 1 for 1, 1 R, 1 SB – took over for Gardy
Kevin Russo: 0 for 5, 2 K – 0 for his last 15 … wtf?
Austin Jackson: 2 for 5, 1 RBI, 2 K
Shelley Duncan & Juan Miranda: both 1 for 5, 1 R – SHELLEY SOLO HOMER … Miranda doubled & K’ed
Cody Ransom & Colin Curtis: both 1 for 4 – Ransom doubled, drove in a run & scored another
Reegie Corona: 2 for 3, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 K – 7 for his last 17 (.412)
Chris Stewart: 2 for 4
Ivan Nova: 6 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 1 WP, 4-10 GB/FB – 60 of 101 pitches were strikes
Humberto Sanchez: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 2-2 GB/FB – 17 of 31 pitches were strikes (54.8%) … he’s been really, really good for about a month now
Eric Wordekemper: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 0-1 GB/FB – 9 of 15 pitches were strikes (60%)

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OMG he’s only 12 outs away you guys!

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The Joba Rules. If I never hear that phrase again, it will be too soon. The rules are, of course, what would govern any young pitcher in Joba’s situation. But the media has taken the Yanks handling of Joba as a personal affront, and seemingly mock these “rules” at every turn (though there are obvious exceptions). The Yankees are in the precarious position of balancing short-term needs with long-term goals. Those are not easy waters to navigate. They’re doing their best, although mistakes have been made in the past.

The idea is that Joba will go three or four innings today, with an indeterminate cap on his pitches. This is in an effort to build him back to to the six, seven inning range by the time October rolls around. I hope this is the right move, though I’m not sure what, beyond completely shutting him down at around 150 to 160 innings, would be an optimal course of action.

Girardi won’t have the luxury of Al Aceves to back up Joba this time, nor will he have Chad Gaudin. If the game gets out of hand either way we could see the likes of Edwar Ramirez and Mike Dunn get in the game. Otherwise we’ll probably see Jon Albaladejo and Mark Melancon fill the middle innings, with Phil Coke taking the 8th inning slot. Presumably, Mariano Rivera is not available again tonight.

Toeing the rubber for the Jays is Roy Halladay, perpetual Yanks nemesis. Well, that is, until this year. The Yanks have tagged him for five runs in each of his last two starts. In fact, Halladay hasn’t been at all himself since the calendar flipped to August. He opened the second half strong, throwing back to back nine-inning appearances out of the gate, against the Sox and the Rays, and then had a rough but serviceable start in Seattle. He hasn’t been the same since.

In his last 42 innings, Halladay has allowed 27 runs, though only 22 earned. That’s good for a 4.71 ERA, certainly un-Halladay-ian. The big culprit: homers. He’s allowed eight in that span, a far, far cry from where he normally sits. That, and the .860 OPS against in August, doesn’t bode well for him as he faces the homer-happy Yankees.

Quite a strange lineup. Jeter has the night off, which is understandable, but Hinske batting second? Wouldn’t Cano be better in that spot? Anyway…

Lineup:

1. Johnny Damon, LF
2. Eric Hinske, RF
3. Mark Teixeira, 1B
4. Alex Rodriguez, 3B
5. Hideki Matsui, DH
6. Jorge Posada, C
7. Robinson Cano, 2B
8. Melky Cabrera, CF
9. Ramiro Pena, SS

And on the mound, number sixty-two, Joba Chamberlain.

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