Yanks, Freddy drop opener in Oakland

Source: FanGraphs

The Yankees lost Thursday night’s game but kept the streak alive — Nick Swisher‘s solo homer with one out in the ninth inning gave them at least three runs for the 43rd consecutive game. That’s the second longest streak of the live ball era and just six away from the record. Sadly, that was the highlight of the night. Let’s recap…

  • No Bueno: The Angels smacked Freddy Garcia around five days ago and another AL West team did the honors on Thursday. The Athletics tagged Freddy for nine hits and four runs in 5.2 innings, including two on a golf shot homer by Yoenis Cespedes in the first. Everything Garcia threw was up, and when he did manage to get the ball down it was out over the plate. His next start will come against the Mariners in Seattle — they have a team 58 wRC+ (!) at Safeco this season — and if he can’t dominate in that environment, it’ll be time to give David Phelps a legit chance in the rotation.
  • West Coast Offense: The Yankees’ bats looked sluggish after the long trip out west, not putting up much of a fight until right-hander A.J. Griffin had visibly tired in the sixth. Mark Teixeira drove in a run with a long sacrifice fly and Swisher plated another with a single. He was their best offensive player on an otherwise forgettable night. No walks, seven singles, and Swisher’s homer. That was it.
  • The Kid: With four strikeouts in 2.1 innings in this game, Phelps has now struck out 35 batters in his last 23.2 innings (13.3 K/9). He retired all seven men he faced and was getting a ton of called strikes with that little two-seamer down and on the outside corner to righties/inside corner to lefties. At some point, likely very soon, the Yankees are just going to have to let him start to see what he can do, Freddy’s feelings be damned.
  • Leftovers: Robinson Cano extended his hitting streak to 22 games and his on-base streak to 25 games with a sixth inning single … Derek Jeter (two singles), Alex Rodriguez (two singles), and Swisher (single and homer) had multiple hits while Cano and Raul Ibanez chipped in singles … Teixeira hit the sac fly to deep center plus another ball to the warning track in left, so he just missed a few that could have gone a long way … the Yankees had won nine straight in Oakland, dating all the way back to the Dallas Braden “get off my mound” game in April 2010.

MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs the advanced stats, and ESPN the updated standings. Every other AL East team won except for the idle Blue Jays, so New York’s lead in the division is down to (gasp!) nine games over Baltimore and double digits over everyone else. Ivan Nova will look to get the Yankees back in the win column against Tommy Milone in game two of this four-game set on Friday night. That’s another 10pm ET start, unfortunately.

Williams continues hot streak with a homer

Make sure you scroll down for tonight’s game thread. Here are a few notes from the minor league side…

  • OF Dan Brewer has been traded to the Braves. No word on the return but it won’t be anything substantial — maybe a few grand, maybe less. Milwaukee really dropped the ball here, they should have been the first team on the phone.
  • RHP Taylor Morton is done for the season with some kind of shoulder problem. Hopefully it’s nothing too serious and explains the 9/20 K/BB in 23.2 innings this year. Meanwhile, RHP Conor Mullee had some kind of surgery this morning and is also done for the year.
  • RHP Danny Farquhar has been bumped up to Triple-A Empire State, taking the roster spot of the recently released RHP Nelson Figueroa.
  • LHP Josh Romanski has joined Short Season Staten Island as part of his rehab assignment. He hasn’t pitched since mid-April due to a blister(s).
  • Baseball America published a midseason list of the youngest players in each league. The Yankees have the youngest player in the Triple-A International League (LHP Manny Banuelos), High-A Florida State League (C Gary Sanchez), and Rookie Level Gulf Coast League (3B Miguel Andujar). Five of the 17 youngest players in the FSL are Yankees farmhands.

Triple-A Empire State (2-0 win over Charlotte)
CF Chris Dickerson: 2-3, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 BB — got picked off first
C Frankie Cervelli: 0-3, 1 K, 1 HBP
2B Corban Joseph: 1-2, 1 RBI, 1 BB
DH Brandon Laird: 2-4, 1 RBI, 1 K — eight hits in his last 23 at-bats (.348) with three doubles and a homer
LF Kosuke Fukudome: 1-2, 2 BB — second straight game with a pair of walks, his specialty
RF Cole Garner & SS Ramiro Pena: both 1-4, 1 K
3B Doug Bernier & 1B Matt Antonelli: both 1-3 — Bernier struck out … Antonelli played his second career game at first
LHP Mike O’Connor: 4 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 3/3 GB/FB — 38 of 54 pitches were strikes (70%) … picked a runner off first
RHP D.J. Mitchell: 5 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 4/4 GB/FB — 42 of 63 pitches were strikes (64%) … he’ll start five days from now

[Read more…]

Game 92: The Left Coast

(AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

The Yankees have completely manhandled the Athletics over the last three seasons, taking 25 of 31 games against Oakland including 13 of 15 in the Coliseum. The A’s are streaking though, having won ten of their last 12 overall. Then again, they won’t be facing the Twins, Mariners, and Red Sox anymore. Here’s the starting nine…

SS Derek Jeter
CF Curtis Granderson
DH Alex Rodriguez
3B Robinson Cano
1B Mark Teixeira
RF Nick Swisher
LF Raul Ibanez
3B Eric Chavez
C  Chris Stewart

RHP Freddy Garcia

Tonight’s game starts a little after 10pm ET and can be seen on YES. Enjoy if you’re awake.

David Phelps Update: Joe Girardi said that he will essentially use Phelps in the Cory Wade role, not strictly long relief. I suppose that means the middle innings between the starter and David Robertson, which will be pretty awesome if he’s willing to let him work two or three innings at a time.

Gardner will have arthroscopic surgery next week

Brett Gardner will have arthroscopic surgery to remove inflamed tissue in his right elbow next week, the Yankees announced. Team doctor Dr. Ahmad will perform the procedure and it will likely end Gardner’s season.

Gardner suffered a bone bruise and an elbow strain on a sliding catch in the team’s 11th game of the season and has since suffered three setbacks during his rehab. He made it as far as minor league games in the first two attempts. The Raul IbanezAndruw Jones platoon has been absurdly productive in left field in the meantime, but the Yankees really lack speed on offense without Gardner. Plus their defense suffered big time. Whether or not they try to plug the hole via trade remains to be seen.

Thursday Night Open Thread

Shouldn’t he be ringing the closing bell? (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

The good news is that the Yankees are going to get their second and final West Coast trip of the season out of the way in mid-to-late-July. In fact, after this trip the farthest they’ll have to travel the rest of the year is to Tampa. That’s pretty cool. Unfortunately that means we have to wait a few more hours for tonight’s game and stay up late to catch all nine innings. It could be worse, they could be going to Anaheim.

Here’s an open thread to hold you over until the regular game thread comes along. The only baseball game being played right now is the Red Sox and White Sox (Buchholz vs. Quintana), and you can watch that one on MLB Network. You folks all know how this works by now, so have at it.

Yanks send Darnell McDonald to Triple-A, release Nelson Figueroa

Via Donnie Collins, outfielder Darnell McDonald has cleared waivers and been assigned to Triple-A Empire State. The Yankees designated him for assignment on Tuesday to clear a roster spot for CC Sabathia. McDonald will join Chris Dickerson, Kosuke Fukudome, and Cole Garner as the only healthy outfielders on the Triple-A roster.

In other news, right-hander Nelson Figueroa was released from the Triple-A squad. The 38-year-old pitched to a 3.92 ERA (4.82 FIP) in eight starts and eight relief appearances for Empire State. A few of the older roster fillers figure to be on their way out in the coming weeks as late-season promotions are made. Figueroa was the first casualty.

Lessons from the Lin saga

Reuters Pictures

As a New York native, I was disappointed to hear that the Knicks declined to match Jeremy Lin’s offer sheet, allowing him to sign with the Houston Rockets.  Watching Lin’s emergence out of obscurity to become an impact player (and the phenomenon that was Linsanity) was one of the more exciting things to happen to the Knicks in recent memory for this tepid NBA fan.  I figured it was a no-brainer that he would be re-signed by the Knicks, especially after the arbitrator ruled that Lin (and Steve Novak) would be granted “Bird Rights” that would allow the Knicks to pay them more than what their cap situation should allow.  On top of all the promise Lin showed on the court, his off-court financial impact seemed like sufficient incentive to keep him.  Maintaining fan enthusiasm would seem to be an important priority with the Nets moving to Brooklyn this year, and looking like a possible contender.

The main justification for the decision seems to be the third year in Lin’s contract, which would pay him about $15 million and cost the Knicks a lot of money in luxury tax.  There are certainly a number of angles to this story, such as whether the decision to let Lin go was a financial move, a basketball move, or the result of petty machinations of a petulant owner.  I won’t claim to know enough about the Knicks or the NBA to single out one of these as the decisive cause, but you can consult Moshe if you want a more informed (and impassioned) take.

While there are certainly major differences here, the Lin decision brings to mind some tough choices that the Yankees may have to make in the near future if they are serious about getting their payroll below $189 million in 2014.  The impending free agencies of Curtis Granderson, Robinson Cano, and Derek Jeter are interesting parallels.  As has been discussed extensively on this blog and elsewhere, if the Yankees are able to get their 2014 payroll below $189 million, they will be able to save a ton of money.  They will do this by resetting their luxury tax rate and having a portion of their revenue sharing payments refunded, the latter of which is particularly compelling because that money subsidizes their small-market competition. [Read more…]