The Yankees had themselves a great Fourth of July weekend, racking up a trio of wins against a division rival in three completely different ways:
- A crisp, clean 4-2 win headlined by tremendous pitching
- An edge of your seat walk-off 6-5 win in extra innings
- An old school, back and forth barn burner
All three games were fun to watch, but alas the weekend is coming to a close and reality will soon set back in. Until then, use this as your open thread for the night. Talk about whatever you want – who should take Wang’s spot, will Eric Hinske ever play, Rangers vs Rays (8pm, ESPN) – just be nice to each other.
Tickets available: A reader has pair of tickets available for tomorrow’s game, located in Section 421, Row 13. It’s the upper deck almost right behind home plate, about two sections on the third base side. Remember, tomorrow’s a day game with a 1:05 start. Face value is $25 each, but the seller is willing to take $40 for the pair. If you’re interested, email me via the link on the far right sidebar and I’ll put you in touch with the seller.
Update (7:40pm): The tickets have been claimed.
After weeks of going back and forth with Kevin Youkilis, Mark Teixeira was announced as the starting first baseman for the American League All Star Team today. Derek Jeter will also start the game at short. Congrats to those two. Mariano Rivera was the only other Yankee elected to the game. Interestingly, the Mets are sending four players to the game, the most of any National League club.
You can see the full rosters here. You can also vote for the Final Man here. · (31) ·
I’m going to go out on a limb and say this game won’t end 10-8.
Well I can’t say I saw that coming.
Once Chien-Ming Wang left yesterday’s game in the sixth after pointing to his shoulder, this post was inevitable. The Yanks will have a few decisions to make in the next few days. They’ll need a spot starter this Thursday in Minnesota, but then won’t need him again until July 21st. So what will the Yanks do to plug this hole both short- and long-term?
The Yanks will go the rest and rehab route with Wang, and Girardi said he expects him to be back this season. The feeling around the clubhouse is that Wang could be back in a month or so. Even so, the Yanks will need at least four appearances from a fifth starter: this Thursday, then three times after the All-Star break before they have another off-day.
Phil Hughes is the obvious choices, as the Yanks bumped him from the rotation for Wang in the first place. But if being stretched out is a concern for the Yanks, it would appear Alfredo Aceves would be the man for Thursday. He and Tomko are the only Yanks bullpen arms who have gone multiple innings with any regularity, and there’s no chance Tomko gets the start.
After yesterday’s game, Joe Girardi said of Aceves and Hughes: “They’re not in a position where you could run them out for 90 or 100 pitches.” He said Aceves could likely go 50 to 60, and Hughes 45-50. Again, the Yankees would have a chance to stretch out either one for the July 21st start, but may be reluctant to do so for Thursday’s.
One interesting name is Sergio Mitre. He’s been rehabbing and working back from Tommy John surgery down in Scranton, and has pitched fairly well this year. He’s only been at about 80 pitches, so he’s not totally stretched out either. But he’s further along than Hughes and Aceves, so the Yanks could opt to add him to the 40-man roster (placing Xavier Nady on the 60-day DL) and give him the spot start.
Here’s the wild card in this: How long will the Yanks keep Wang on the DL? He might be ready to return in a month, but the Yanks will want to play this one cautiously. They have an opportunity to make sure everything is back to normal before returning him to the majors, a process they seemingly botched earlier in the year. If the plan is to take their time with Wang, Hughes should be the guy. He’s the sixth starter, and if someone goes out for a prolonged period, he’s the guy.
What the Yanks could do, and I’d prefer this, is to recall Mitre tomorrow as a bullpen arm. Start Hughes on Thursday, knowing he can’t go long; Aceves and Mitre will be around for backup. Then option Hughes the next day so he can get a start in the minors. It would probably have to be Trenton, since Scranton’s All-Star game is the same week as the MLB one. That would probably put him at 80-90 pitches for the start on the 21st against the Orioles.
As they did with Joba, many Yankees fans are falling in love with Hughes in the bullpen. It’s hard not to. He’s been lights out since making the transition. But if the team doesn’t have good starters, a good bullpen is kind of moot. Why would they put an inferior pitcher in the rotation? Oftentimes, when there’s a poor starter on the mound, the bullpen doesn’t have a lead to protect.
In the end, I believe the Yankees will opt to keep Hughes in the bullpen and start an inferior pitcher in Wang’s place. They’ll have their own justification for it, and I hope it works out. It very well could. From a strategic standpoint, though, it’s not the most sound decision. But if Mitre or Aceves comes through, they’ll look like geniuses.
In celebration of our nation’s independence, the Yankees decided to stage an epic battle against our neighbors to the north. A few lead changes made the early innings interesting, and at the end of nine they were tied at five. The game wouldn’t end any time soon thereafter.
The story of the day, as we all knew going in, was Chien-Ming Wang — though it wasn’t quite for the reasons we expected. He pitched well through the first two innings, allowing two runs on four hits and one walk. Even the runs — a bloop ground rule double to right by Vernon Wells followed by a chopper up the middle by Alex Rios — were forgivable. Things weren’t so nice in the sixth.
Marco Scutaro led off the inning with a double, and after an Aaron Hill groundout Adam Lind parked one over the right field wall, staking the Blue Jays to a 4-3 lead. After throwing one pitch to Scott Rolen Wang was done. Jorge Posada called out the trainer after he saw something. After the game he said that Wang “didn’t throw that ball.” Not good news, especially because of his effective early innings.
We’ll be sure to discuss the Wang injury in a bit more depth tomorrow morning. For now, all we have is the word from Girardi, which came after Wang had an MRI. “Shoulder strain and some bursitis,” he explained. “I’m confident he’ll be back, but I can’t tell you exactly when.” The plan for now wounds like rest and rehab, but that could certainly change. Wang, you will remember, had a rotator cuff injury after the All-Star break in 2005, and made it back for September with rest and rehab.
David Robertson didn’t help matters in relief, walking the first two batters he faced before allowing another Blue Jays run. Brian Bruney had his own struggles in the seventh, loading the bases with one out before getting Scott Rolen to pop out and Lyle Overbay to line out to finish the inning without any damage. It’s a good thing, because the Yanks mounted their comeback in the seventh.
Derek Jeter singled to lead off the inning, and Johnny Damon put one over the short porch to tie the game up. It was the fifth run the Yankees scored off Roy Halladay. How many runs had Halladay allowed in his last five outings against the Yankees? It was the most runs he’d allowed to the Yankees in six years. Yankees fans knew this all too well, making today’s game just a bit sweeter. He is human, after all.
The Yanks had chances in both the eighth and ninth, but trends from earlier in the game came back to haunt them. In every inning one through seven, either Robinson Cano or Brett Gardner ended the inning. That continued through the last two frames, as Gardner ended the eight with a strikeout, leaving Cody Ransom, pinch-running for Hideki Matsui after a ground rule double, stranded on second. The Yanks again put a runner in scoring position with two outs in the ninth, as Derek Jeter tagged up from first on a long fly ball. Can grounded out to second to end that frame.
After both teams failed to score in the 10th and 11th and Brett Tomko retired the Blue Jays in the 12th, Cano had another chance. Mark Teixeira led off with a double, leaving the door open for Cito Gaston to walk Alex Rodriguez. Girardi put on the bunt sign, which makes sense in this situation. Cano has been in a funk lately, especially with runners in scoring position. Shawn Camp let him off the hook, though, throwing three straight balls. but then on 3-0, Cano showed bunt again, tapping one in front of the mound. Raul Chavez pounced on it and got Mark Teixeira at third. Cano had just wasted an out on an ill-advised bunt attempt.
“Let’s just say that somebody missed something,” Girardi said after the game. “He misunderstood something.” The mental gaffe could, and probably should, land Cano on the bench tomorrow. Gardner, who is 0 for 15 since his five-hit night at Citi Field, could join him to give Eric Hinske his first Yankees start.
Ah, but the game is not yet over, at least as far as concerns this recap. Before pontificating on the near-term ramifications of Cano’s and Gardner’s slumps, we were left with runners on first and second with one out and Jorge Posada on the plate. After looking at two pitches, a ball and a strike. The third one would end the game. Jorge punched it into right-center, plating Alex Rodriguez to cap a 6-5 Independence Day win. I can’t imagine the horrors of having lost to Canada.
It wasn’t a pretty game, but a win’s a win. Combined with a Red Sox loss, the Yanks are just a game out of the division lead. Not that it matters at this point. We’re not even halfway through, so winning games is the only thing the Yanks, and their fans, need to worry about.
It was supposed to be Joba vs. Scott Richmond tomorrow, but late word came that Richmond will hit the DL. The Yanks will face rookie Brett Cecil for the series win.
What? Don’t look at me like that, it’s a holiday. I’m allowed one of these once in a while.
- Triple-A Scranton‘s game was postponed because the field was a swamp. They’ll play two tomorrow.
- Double-A Trenton and New Britain are tied at 6 in the 11th inning as of this writing. New Britain took the lead in the top of the 10th, but Eduardo Nunez smacked a 2 run job to tie in the bottom half. Jesus Montero is 0 for 4 at the moment.
- Austin Romine took an 0-fer as High-A Tampa fell 4-0 to Lakeland.
- Low-A Charleston broke out the whoopin’ stick on Asheville, pounding them for a 14-4 victory. Jose Pirela went 3 for 6 with 3 doubles while Corban Joseph went 4 for 6 with 3 XBH and 4 steaks. Manny Banuelos allowed 1 run and 5 baseunners in 6 innings.
- Short Season Staten Island squeaked by Lowell 2-0. Kyle Higashioka doubled and Neil Medchill drove in a pair of runs while everyone who took the mound did a terrific job.
- Kelvin DeLeon went deep and Jose Mojica ripped a pair of doubles as the Rookie GCL Yanks downed the GCL Pirates 4-2. Matt Richardson was excellent on the mound again, and Mikey O’Brien made his season debut in relief.
While you’re waiting for the sky to light up, sit down and chill out here in our open thread. Talk about whatever you want, just be nice to each other.
Have a safe and happy Fourth of July everyone.