Saturday Night Open Thread

(REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine)

This is the perfect time of year. The weather’s great — not too cold and not disgustingly humid NYC summer yet — and right about now is when the Yankees usually start to go on a bit of a roll. They’ve now won five of six following this afternoon’s beatdown of the Mariners, and they were just one bad David Robertson inning away from six wins in a row. Since Mariano Rivera‘s injury, they’ve won six of nine. It’s an unfortunate reference point, but wins are wins.

Anyway, here is tonight’s open thread. MLB Network is airing a game (teams depend on where you live), but the biggest game of the night is Game Seven between the NY Rangers and the Capitals at the Garden (7:30pm ET on NBC Sports Network). Winner of that game will play the Devils in the Eastern Conference Finals. Talk about that or whatever else you want here.

Yankees claim Justin Thomas off waivers from Red Sox

Via Maureen Mullen, the Yankees have claimed lefty reliever Justin Thomas off waivers from the Red Sox. Not sure what the corresponding 40-man roster move is, but the Yanks have a ton of 60-day DL candidates so that’s not an issue.

Thomas, 28, has a minor league option left, so I’m assuming he’ll head to Triple-A. He pitched to a 7.71 ERA (3.17 FIP) in seven appearances (4.2 IP) with Boston, allowing two singles and a double to the 12 left-handed batters he’d faced. Thomas has pitched for the Mariners and Pirates in the past, but given how terrible the Sox’s bullpen is, I wouldn’t expect much if they cut him loose.

Update: Just for the sake of completeness, the Yankees have transferred Austin Romine to the 60-day DL to clear a 40-man spot for Thomas.

Game 33: An Old Friend

(AP Photo/John Froschauer)

Hector Noesi seems to be the forgotten man in the Jesus MonteroMichael Pineda trade. He was slated to be the team’s sixth starter before being dealt away, but Brian Cashman was emphatic in saying that Noesi would work as a starting pitcher in Triple-A instead of serving as the long-man again. I guess that means David Phelps would have still made the Opening Day roster but not gotten starts when Freddy Garcia had to be removed from the rotation. Who knows. Anyway, here’s the starting nine…

DH Derek Jeter
CF Curtis Granderson
3B Alex Rodriguez
2B Robinson Cano
1B Mark Teixeira
RF Nick Swisher
LF Raul Ibanez
Russell Martin
SS Jayson Nix — might as well see what he can do at short

RHP Phil Hughes

Today’s game is scheduled to start a little after 4pm ET and can be seen on YES. Their will be a pre-game ceremony for Yogi Berra’s 87th birthday on the field, so make sure you tune in for that. Enjoy.

Pitching Update: As expected, David Phelps is moving back into the bullpen and will be available tomorrow after starting on Tuesday. Andy Pettitte will take Phelps’ rotation spot. Have to figure Cody Eppley will be sent to Triple-A to accommodate Andy tomorrow.

2012 Draft: Baseball America’s Mock Draft v1.0

Baseball America posted their first mock draft of the spring on Thursday, and they have the Astros taking Stanford RHP Mark Appel first overall. Georgia high school outfielder Byron Buxton is the consensus top prospect in the draft, but BA can be a little stubborn when it comes to sticking with their preseason rankings (see Alvarez, Pedro). You don’t need a subscription to read the article, it’s free.

The Yankees took Louisiana high school catcher Stryker Trahan with their first rounder (#30 overall) in the mock. “He’s a physical, athletic masher who will need time to develop behind the plate,” said the write-up. Trahan has a little J.R. Murphy in him in the sense that his bat is his best tool and he’s athletic enough to play other positions on the field. He’s a left-handed hitter though, Murphy’s a righty. For what it’s worth, Keith Law ranked Trahan as the 24th best prospect in the draft in his last rankings.

Cashman: No extension talks or search for bullpen help ongoing

Via A.J. Perez, GM Brian Cashman confirmed that the Yankees are not currently negotiating a contract extension with any players, including Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano. That’s not terribly surprising; the team’s policy is to wait until current contracts expire before discussing new deals, and those two are under club control (via option years) next season. Russell Martin and Nick Swisher are the other notable extension candidates and are both due to become a free agent this winter.

Cashman also confirmed that they’re not seeking for bullpen help at the moment, something we first learned last weekend. “I’m not out there looking for relievers,” he said. The Yankees have plenty of internal options to try out in the wake of Mariano Rivera‘s injury before diving into the trade market, but dealing for a reliever at the deadline shouldn’t be out of the question.

Yanks can’t hit good pitching, beat Felix anyway


Source: FanGraphs

Don’t look now, but the Yankees have suddenly won four of five and were an uncharacteristically bad David Robertson inning away from winning five in a row. The last three starting pitchers they’ve beaten are Jamie Shields, David Price, and Felix Hernandez. I’m sure all three just had off-nights since the Yankee can’t hit good pitching. To the bullet points…

  • My Hiro: To be perfectly honest, I don’t think Hiroki Kuroda pitched all that great on Friday. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll take two runs in seven innings eight days a week and twice on Sundays, but he seemed to fall behind every batter — first pitch strike to 14 of 29 hitters — and only struck out a pair against the club with the fourth highest strikeout rate in the league. In his last three starts, Kuroda has seven walks and seven strikeouts in 18.1 IP. Underwhelming, though he’s the kind of guy that bends the laws of DIPS theory. Still, I’ll take this type of outing all year long.
  • De-Crowned: Felix came into this start having allowed one earned run in 24 IP at the New Stadium, but the Yankees got to him for a run when Robinson Cano singled in Curtis Granderson in the very first inning. The also tagged him for three runs in the fifth when Raul Ibanez assaulted a first pitch fastball with two runners on. The three-run dinger was Raul’s sixth of the season and his third in four games. Four runs on eleven hits and two walks against Hernandez is more than I could have ever expected. Great job.
  • Matchups: With Rafael Soriano on the shelf due to his recent workload, eighth inning duties fell on the shoulders of three guys. First Clay Rapada retired Ichiro, then Cory Wade retired Jesus Montero, then Boone Logan retired Kyle Seager. Boone got the first out in the ninth before allowing an infield single. Roberson came on to record two stress-free outs on six pitches, and it was good to get him back out there so soon after that hideous blown save.
  • Leftovers: The Yankees won so I can be happy Montero homered, a solo shot to (where else?) the opposite field … Andruw Jones‘ two-run pinch-hit homer was the team’s first pinch-hit dinger since Jorge Posada in September 2010 … Cano went 4-for-4 with a double and now has 12 hits in his last 20 at-bats, raising his season line to .308/.350/.462. That’ll do … Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira had two hits apiece while Derek Jeter, Granderson, Nick Swisher, Ibanez, and Eric Chavez had one each.

MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs the advanced stats, and ESPN the updated standings. The second game of this three-game set is a rare 4pm ET, non-FOX broadcast on Saturday afternoon. Phil Hughes gets the ball against former teammate Hector Noesi. Check out RAB Tickets for some sweet deals.

O’Brien dominates in Tampa win

Got some notes…

  • According to Slade Heathcott, he will play his first game of the season with High-A Tampa on June 5th. Hooray for that.
  • Dellin Betances got the sixth spot on this week’s Prospect Hot Sheet following his eight-inning gem the other day. Hopefully he strings a few strong performances together.
  • A number of players — including Betances and Andy Pettitte — have had trouble with the mound in Rochester, so it will be rebuilt. Triple-A Empire State will play 38 of their 72 “home” games in Rochester this season, not to mention their regularly scheduled road games there as well.
  • Mentioned yesterday that Rob Lyerly is out for the season with a shoulder problem, and apparently he had surgery to repair his labrum. That bites. Meanwhile, Jose Pirela is close to returning from the dreaded mystery injury.
  • And finally, check out Yankees Fans Unite‘s interview with Tyler Austin.

Triple-A Scranton (8-7 loss to Durham in ten innings) they faced former Yankees great Lance Pendleton
2B Kevin Russo: 0-6, 1 K
CF Ray Kruml: 0-5, 1 K, 1 E (missed catch) — Brandon Laird pinch-hit for him in the tenth and struck out
1B Steve Pearce: 2-5, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 K — yawn
DH Jack Cust: 1-2, 1 R, 3 BB, 1 K — six walks in his last ten trips to the plate
3B Ronnie Mustelier: 2-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 HBP — nine hits in 27 at-bats since the promotion (.333)
RF Colin Curtis: 0-4, 2 R, 1 BB, 2 K — threw a runner out at second
C Frankie Cervelli: 2-5, 1 R, 2 RBI, 1 K, 1 E (throwing)
LF Cole Garner: 2-5, 1 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 K — first multi-hit game of the season
SS Yadil Mujica: 3-5, 1 RBI, 2 K, 1 E (fielding)
RHP Ramon Ortiz: 5.2 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 3 BB, 5 K, 7/1 GB/FB — 62 of 93 pitches were strikes (66.7%)
LHP Mike O’Connor: 4.1 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 3/4 GB/FB — 52 of 83 pitches were strikes (62.7%)

[Read more…]