In his latest minor league rehab appearance, David Aardsma allowed a run on two hits and a wild pitch in one inning of work for Double-A Trenton. He didn’t walk or strike anyone out, throwing just 11 of 20 pitches were strikes. One of his outs was the fly ball, the other two a ground ball double play. Here’s video. Aardsma has been struggling during his latest rehab stint and remains unlikely to join the big league bullpen before season’s end.
MLB Network is running a four-part series entitled “My MLB Life,” which looks at how various players grew up and the things they do away from the field these days. Matt Kemp, Tori Hunter, and Ryan Zimmerman were featured in the first four parts while CC Sabathia will be the focus in the finale. The preview is above and you can see the full episode tomorrow at 1pm ET, so set your DVR. Apparently I missed the first two showings this weekend, but hooray reruns. (h/t Bryan Hoch)
Anyway, here is tonight’s open thread. The ESPN Sunday Night Game is a good one, the Dodgers at the Giants (
Kershaw Blanton vs. Zito). You’ve also got the late football game as well (Steelers at Broncos). Talk about either of those two games or anything else here.
Via Jeff Bradley, infielder Eduardo Nunez will play winter ball in his native Dominican Republic after the season to make up for all the at-bats he lost this summer. He’s come to the plate fewer than 250 times between the Majors and minors this year due to a thumb injury that sidelined him for more than two months.
The Yankees wanted Nunez to play shortstop exclusively when they sent him to the minors in May and I presume they’d like him to do the same this winter. Clubs do have some say in how a player is used by their winter club, but I believe service time dictates exactly how much say. They play to win down there, a slumping player will sit even if he’s the best prospect in baseball history. Either way, Nunez needs to make up for the lost playing time and I’m glad he’ll do so this winter.
When this ten-game stretch against the Orioles and Rays started last weekend, the Yankees were three games up on Baltimore and four up on Tampa. Following three wins in nine games, they’re now tied with the O’s and just two ahead of the Rays. They’ve struggled offensively, the starting pitchers are seemingly unable to protect a lead, and the bullpen can’t go a game without allowing the opponent to tack on runs. A win today moves the Yankees back into first by one game, but something tells me it won’t be easy. Here’s the starting lineup…
DH Derek Jeter
RF Nick Swisher
3B Alex Rodriguez
2B Robinson Cano
C Russell Martin
1B Steve Pearce
LF Andruw Jones
SS Jayson Nix
CF Ichiro Suzuki
RHP Freddy Garcia
Today’s game starts a little after 1:30pm ET and can be seen on YES locally and TBS nationally. Enjoy.
Sunday: Via Bryan Hoch, Teixeira will go for an MRI on the calf and is unlikely to be available during the upcoming series against the Red Sox. Fantastic.
Saturday: Following tonight’s game, Mark Teixeira told reporters that he felt something in his left calf running out the final play of the game, and that’s why he slid into first. A Grade I strain in the same calf kept him on the shelf for the previous ten games. Teixeira will not play on Sunday and the Yankees are off on Monday, so he’ll get at least two days off to hopefully straighten this out. Le sigh.
From Andrew Marchand…
The issue of (CC Sabathia)’s health led to Girardi ending up nose-to-nose — like he might with an umpire — with [Joel Sherman of The New York Post]. During his postgame news conference, Girardi was asked about Sabathia’s health and he said he was fine. The columnist was in the back of the scrum and could not clearly hear the previous answers.
“I think you might have just been asked my question,” he said. “Are you convinced that CC is healthy?”
Girardi said, “Yes, that’s the third time. He’s healthy.”
What followed was a rigid exchange between reporter and manager. After the news conference, Girardi invited the writer into his office and the two ended up nose-to-nose, yelling before security stepped in between them.
The Yankees suck right now. They’ve won just six of their 18 last games and the division lead is down to zero. They’re playing terribly and everyone is frustrated — you, me, the players, the coaches, the front office, everyone. That said, Girardi is the team’s daily spokesman and public figure of authority, so he above all else must remain composed regardless of how chaotic things get on the field or in the standings. That’s his job as much as filling out the lineup and changing pitchers. I’d argue moreso.
Girardi, obviously, did not remain composed last night. He lashed out in frustration at a reporter, probably the worst possible thing he could have done outside of a physical altercation with a fan. It’s the media’s job to dig and dig and dig, hoping for moments just like this. It makes for great copy. Girardi and his team are going to get torn to shreds by the media not just for their play anymore, now the conversation moves on to their mental state and their ability to remain poised during this tough stretch. It’s an unwanted distraction the club will have to deal with not just today or tomorrow, but pretty much any time things get tough on the field during the next few weeks. Now that the skipper has revealed his boiling point, the questions and probes from the media will only get tougher.
I understand that Jerry Meals made a laughably bad call to cost the Yankees a game, but Girardi is the proverbial adult in the room. He can’t lose his cool, at least not publicly. If he wants to yell at his players behind closed doors or slam his hat and kick dirt on the umpire on the field, fine. But he overstepped his bounds last night and frankly it’s not the first time it’s happened during this slide — remember when he lashed out at the fan in Chicago a few weeks ago? It reflects horribly on Girardi and his ability to remain in control when the adversity ramps up. The guy calling the shots is supposed to be the last one to crack, not the first.
It’s entirely possible the Yankees would have lost this game in extra innings given their bullpen anyway, but man if they lose the division by one game…
- Blown Call: You all know what happened and can see it above if you don’t. First base ump Jerry Meals said the throw beat Mark Teixeira to the bag for the final out of the game as the game-tying run was scoring from third. He was completely and indisputably wrong. Bad calls happen, but I just hate that such an egregious mistake decided a game of this magnitude.
- SuCCks: The blown call wouldn’t have mattered if CC Sabathia had been able to keep the Orioles in the park, as they tagged him for three dingers in 6.1 innings. He blew a two-run lead in the second, the fourth lead he’s blown in three games back from the DL. Sabathia hasn’t been himself pretty much all season but especially of late, and the Yankees simply needed him to pitch much better in a game this important. I don’t know if the elbow is still bothering him or what, but this nonsense is not good enough for the supposed ace of a contender.
- Eighth Inning Non-Rally: The Yankees scored a run in the first (Teixeira sac fly) and a run in the second (Ichiro Suzuki double), but the bats went into hibernation against Joe Saunders and various relievers until the eighth. Alex Rodriguez homered for the second time in as many games in the eighth, but the Bombers were unable to capitalize further when Curtis Granderson popped up to end the inning with men on corners. I love Curtis as much as anyone, but Joe Girardi had to pinch-hit for him in that spot with the left-hander just entering the game (and thus unable to be replaced). Granderson hasn’t been hitting for far too long to be left in in that spot.
- Ninth Inning Rally: Single to left (Ichiro), single to left (Eric Chavez), bunt single to third (Derek Jeter). Boom, just like that the Yankees had the bases loaded with no outs against Jim Johnson in the span of six pitches. They needed to score two runs to tie and they did … until the blown call. Swisher grounded into a fielder’s choice to short to score the first run, a ball hit too softly for a double play thankfully. You know what happened on Teixeira’s slow grounder to second. With a scorching hot A-Rod on deck, the call hurts even more.
Scott ProctorCody Eppley did a fine job after Sabathia, retiring five of the six men he faced … Granderson didn’t start the game but he still managed to kill two big rallies (sixth and eighth innings), both with two men on-base … Swisher went 0-for-5 and is still hitless on the road trip, though he did have the homer robbed a night ago. I’m sure that helps him sleep well at night … Jeter had three more hits while Ichiro had two, so the two most veteran of veterans deserve props for having huge series this weekend … Nick Markakis will miss six weeks after Sabathia broke his thumb with that hit by pitch, which really sucks. Don’t want to see anyone get hurt like that … the Orioles have out-homered the Yankees 12-4 in the series, which sucks for them because little do they know you can’t win with homers in the postseason!
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights while ESPN has the updated standings. If you want to see the (depressing) WPA Graph, check out FanGraphs. The Yankees and Orioles are tied atop the AL East again, though the Rays lost to the Rangers and remain two back in the loss column. This nightmare series and road trip will conclude on Sunday afternoon, when Freddy Garcia gives it a go against Zach Britton.
[Photo via @JimmyTraina]