Game 149: Andy’s back

(AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

We’ve missed you, Andy. Let’s finish off this sweep and go into the Tampa series on a high note, shall we?

Here’s the lineup…

LF Gardner, Brett
SS Jeter, Derek
1B Berkman, Lance
2B Cano, Robinson
DH Swisher, Nick
C Posada, Jorge
CF Granderson, Curtis
RF Kearns, Austin
3B Pena, Ramiro

And on the bump, it’s Andrew Pettitte.

First pitch is schedule for a little after 1:30pm ET, and the game can be seen on YES locally or TBS nationally. Remember, if you want to talk about the NFL games, we have a thread for that. Enjoy.

Sunday Morning Links

Here’s some Sunday morning links while we wait for Yankees-Orioles followed by Pats-Jets (my pick: Pats 27, Jets 13).

In light of the recent news that Joe Torre is stepping down as Dodgers manager, Chad Finn at the Boston Globe takes a look back at the 1998 Yankees.  Finn takes shots at the Yankees from time to time but it’s all in good fun and he’s one of the Boston writers who I can actually read when it comes to baseball.  He gets a shot in at Joe Morgan and calls Tim Raines a Hall of Famer, so he’s good in my book.

Within a piece at AOL Fanhouse Andrew Johnson has an interesting take on the Jeter situation comparing him to the Dave Matthews Band.  Once you read it, it does make some sense.  The best line of the whole piece however, is this “I’m a sportswriter, not an ethicist.”  If only more people that write or talk about sports for a living understood that.

Carl Crawford was upset for the criticism he took after getting thrown out at third base to end Tuesday nights game.  Personally I’m not buying that the Yankees will be all in on Crawford in the offseason, but if he got upset by this and he ends up in pinstripes, he’ll have quite an adjustment to the New York media.  It’s also interesting that the writer notes Crawford seemed pretty stung by the criticism coming from the Yankees.

Ken Burns is back in the baseball business as his new documentary “The Tenth Inning” is set to air on PBS on September 28th and 29th.  “The Tenth Inning” is a sequel to Burns’ 1994 “Baseball”, and will cover new things that have happened in baseball since the last film.  For many of the readers here the past 15 years or so covers a lot of the time we’ve been avidly following the game, so it is sure to be a very interesting watch.

Yanks offense returns for 11-3 rout

(AP Photo/Nick Wass)

Put the man on and get him in. The Yankees had the first half of this formula all month, but they haven’t executed the second. Last night they took care of business, putting 17 runners on base and leaving just seven of them stranded. That helped CC Sabathia through a shaky first few innings. He settled down as the game went on and ultimately was awarded his 20th victory of the season. He cared so much that he was in the clubhouse when the team recorded the final out.

The Yanks had control of this game from the beginning. They loaded the bases on a hit by pitch, a walk, and a single in the first, and then brought around two runner on a Jorge Posada single. Then in the second they got another on a sac fly. While the Orioles did creep back into it with a run in both the second and third, that’s as close as they’d get the rest of the way. The Yankees answered with another run in the fourth and then two in the fifth before tacking on five the rest of the way to seal the game.

(AP Photo/Nick Wass)

Derek Jeter continued his revival, going 2 for 3 with two runs scored and two RBI. It seems like he’s had a good at-bat every single time up since the day off last weekend in Texas. His OBP has actually dropped a bit, but it seems like he’s ready to rip off a string of excellent games. The two runs scored put him over the century mark for the season. Robinson Cano also crossed the century mark tonight, as his two-run home run gave him 101 RBI on the season. He’s the third Yankee to reach the plateau.

What makes these plateaus so remarkable is that they come from infielders. The outfielders are always knows as the heavy bats, but the Yankees don’t operate that way. All four infielders slot into the first five lineup spots. That’s a pretty remarkable feat. What makes it more insane is that all three of the Yankees’ outfielders are among the top 11 AL outfielders in WAR. The offense might have sputtered lately, but it’s tough to question a group this stacked with top players.

(AP Photo/Nick Wass)

Sabathia added a line to his Cy Young resume by recording his 20th win of the season. This shouldn’t matter, but it does. CC has pitched wonderfully this season and has lived up to all expectations of him. He also happens to pitch for the best team in the league. That alone — the best pitcher on the bet team — certainly should warrant consideration for the award. But after further examination it’s clear that other pitchers are having better years. But for the Yanks, CC has done it all. With the magic number down to just 7, it looks like Sabathia can take it easy in his last couple of starts and gear up for a long playoff run.

After a mean slump followed by last night’s dramatics, a blowout was just what the Yankees needed. Berkman was the only starter without a hit, but he gets a pass for the way he’s laced the ball since he returned from the DL. Other than that it was a relatively stress-free game. We’ll take another one of those any day.

Trenton’s season ends as Altoona takes home title

Double-A Trenton (5-2 loss to Altoona) Altoona won the best-of-five series three games to one, and took home the Eastern League Championship
Austin Krum, CF: 2 for 3, 1 BB, 1 SB
Justin Snyder, 3B: 0 for 3, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 E (throwing) – given how much they struggled offensively, they probably should have at least tried Rob Segedin out at the hot corner
Dan Brewer, RF: 1 for 4, 1 RBI, 1 K – threw a runner out at third
Austin Romine, C: 0 for 3, 1 BB - he’ll get some much needed time off now to rest
Marcos Vechionacci, 1B & Rene Rivera, C: both 0 for 4 – Vech K’ed three times, Rivera four … Vech also committed a fielding error in what might have been his final game with the organization, since he’s due to become a minor league free agent
Damon Sublett, LF: 1 for 3, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K
Luis Nunez, SS: 0 for 3, 1 BB
Matt Cusick, 2B: 1 for 4, 1 R, 1 3B, 2 K
Manny Banuelos: 4.2 IP, 5 H 4 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 5 K, 8-1 GB/FB – one of the walks was intentional … he took a line drive off his neck, below his chin in the fourth inning, but he stayed in the game
Wilkins Arias: 0.1 IP, zeroes, 1-0 GB/FB
Cory Arbiso: 2.2 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 3-3 GB/FB – first time he’s pitched since Sept. 5th
Josh Schmidt: 0.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K, 0-2 GB/FB
Pat Venditte: 0.2 IP, zeroes, 1 K, 0-1 GB/FB

High-A Tampa beat Charlotte on Monday to win the Florida State League Championship, their second consecutive league title.

Low-A Charleston, Short Season Staten Island, and the Rookie GCL Yanks are done. None of the three qualified for the postseason. Triple-A Scranton‘s season ended when they lost to Columbus in the first round of the International League playoffs.

* * *

So folks, that’s it for the 2010 edition of DotF. The Arizona Fall League season doesn’t start until October 13th, and while DotF will certainly return with nightly updates then, it’s just not the same. This was the fifth year of DotF, and it was easily the best in terms of how much the system improved. So many breakouts, so few injuries and regressions. I wish every season was like this.

Anyway, thanks for all the feedback, comments, links, info, everything really, and thanks for helping make it another great season. See you in three-and-a-half weeks.

(Special thanks goes out to everyone who covers the various affiliates as well, every team should be so lucky as to have minor league coverage like this. Donnie Collins, Mike Ashmore, Conor Foley, Josh Norris, Jessica Quiroli, and everyone I regrettably forgot. Great job this season, folks.)

Game 148: A third try for 20

(AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

Despite having zero 20-win seasons to his credit, CC Sabathia has been here before. Just about two weeks his took the mound against the Orioles with a chance for his 20th victory of 2010, but the O’s jumped on him early and often and sent CC and the Yankees home losers that night. Their game plan was to jump on Sabathia early in the count, so it’ll be interesting to see how both sides adjust tonight. If Baltimore sticks with that same approach, I get the feeling that CC’s going to chew them up and spit them out.

Here’s tonight’s lineup…

SS Jeter, Derek
DH Swisher, Nick – hey, look who’s back
1B Berkman, Lance
3B Rodriguez, Alex
2B Cano, Robinson
C Posada, Jorge
CF Granderson, Curtis
LF Gardner, Brett
RF Curtis, Colin

And on the bump, it’s Carsten Sabathia.

Boo for Saturday night games. This one starts a little after 7:00pm ET and can be seen on YES. Hopefully it’s not a dramatic a last night, but with the same end result. Enjoy the game, everyone.

Darvish “highly likely” to be posted this offseason

Ken Rosenthal reports (with a hat tip to MLBTR) that the latest Japanese sensation, righthander Yu Darvish, is “highly likely” to be posted by the Nippon Ham Fighters this coming winter. It’s the same process that Daisuke Matsuzaka and Kei Igawa went through, meaning MLB teams will bid for the rights to negotiate with the player, and then discuss a contract separately.

The Yankees have been all over Darvish, having sent some serious heat to watch him in the not-too-distant past. Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker explained why Darvish is the real deal over at FanGraphs earlier this year, and it’s not hard to connect the dots with the Yanks in need of at least one, but likely two starting pitchers after the season. Believe it or not, Darvish is close to two full months younger than Phil Hughes.

25 things you don’t know about baseball

Yahoo’s Jeff Passan has a fun little article out today (or maybe it was yesterday, I forget) with 25 things you might not know about baseball this season. Yes, there’s the usual dose of Yankee hate, but there’s also plenty of cool and interesting pieces of info in there as well. I enjoyed it, so I’m passing it along. Check it out.