Offense goes wild in 12-9 win

For the second straight night the White Sox scored nine runs. But instead of another discouraging loss the Yankees hit John Danks hard, driving him from the game in the fifth. They scored 12 runs in all, including four home runs. That’ll get them a win just about every time.

Biggest Hit: Jorge extends the lead

The Yanks went ahead early in this game thanks to three two-run home runs, but by the end of the fourth the White Sox had hit a few homers of their own. The game was 6-5 when Danks started working the fifth. Nick Swisher Drew an eight-pitch walk. Four batters later, after a Robinson Cano single, Jorge Posada drove a double to right. It was deep enough to score both Swisher and Cano, extending the Yankees’ lead to three. They’d tack on two more before the end of the inning.

(AP Photo/John Smierciak)

The rally coincided with CC’s revival. From the fifth through the seventh he faced 11 batters and struck out five of them. He looked generally good earlier in the game, but Jones and Konerko took advantage of hittable pitches. That will sometimes happen. Thankfully it happened on the right night.

Learn from Mo, for Mo is wise

(AP Photo/John Smierciak)

As he so often does, CC pitched a solid seven which, with the aid of 11 runs, should have meant an easy job for the bullpen. The Yankees used four relievers in the final two innings, and the first three of them gave up runs. Well, technically only Joba and Robertson gave up runs, but Logan allowed both of his inherited runners to score so he’s not so innocent. It wasn’t encouraging, but again it came on the right night.

Mo picked them all up at the end. Robertson had created a save situation, and since he hadn’t pitched in a week it was as good a situation as any to use him. His first order of business was to get rid of that pesky baserunner, which he did by busting Carlos Quentin inside and eventually inducing a ground ball double play. He then toyed with the White Sox for a couple of batters before finishing the game.

Nunez’s big day

(AP Photo/John Smierciak)

A lefty started the game, which meant that Eduardo Nunez took his turn in the uninspiring A-Rod replacement platoon. Both Nunez and Ramiro Pena can field the position with ease, but neither has a bat that remotely approaches a diminished A-Rod. But there are some games when that light hitting player can go on a tear. Pena has done it before. Last night it was Nunez’s turn.

He started the festivities in the second with a two-run homer, the first of his career, extending the lead to three. It was the third straight fastball from Danks, and it actually looked pretty inside. Nunez got around on it and lined it out to left. He then came through in the seventh with a bases loaded single that put the Yanks up by five. In the eighth he singled to lead off and eventually came around to score on a Swisher single. Finally, in the ninth he picked up his first big league walk.

The career evening raised his line from .250/.250/.300 to .333/.360/.500.

Graph and Box

That’s how I like my away game graphs. Nice and towards the bottom.

More at FanGraphs. And there’s also the box score.

Up Next

The Yanks get Gavin Floyd tomorrow at 2 p.m. Ivan Nova gets his second major league start.

Teixeira day-to-day with bruised thumb

Update (11:17pm): Tex said he injured the hand yesterday on a dive and tried to play through it today, but it was too sore. Joe Girardi gave it the old day-to-day and said Nick Swisher will sub at first for the time being.

8:44pm: It’s a bruised right thumb for Tex, though we don’t know when or how it happened. Hopefully it’s just a bruise and nothing more serious.

7:50pm: Mark Teixeira was pinch hit for in the 3rd inning of today’s game for an unknown reason. There wasn’t any kind of obvious play where he may have injured himself, so we’re just going to have wait and see on this one. Fingers crossed.

Banuelos strong in second Double-A try

It’s Saturday night, so sue me for taking the easy way out…

  • Triple-A Scranton lost the first game of their doubleheader. Kevin Russo, Greg Golson, and Jesus Montero all singled and struck out. Colin Curtis had a pair of hits, including a double. The Ghost of Kei Igawa struck out ten in 6.2 innings of work, but he also allowed four runs.
  • Triple-A Scranton won the second game. Jorge Vazquez provided all the offense with a solo homer and a run-scoring hit later in the game. Curtis and Brandon Laird each had a single, Golson a single and a double. Montero did not play. Jon Albaladejo blew the save in the 8th, then got ejected after he flipped his lid.
  • Double-A Trenton won. Austin Krum tripled, Rene Rivera doubled, and Austin Romine tripled. In his second AA start, Manny Banuelos struck out five and allowed zero runs in five innings. He walked three, gave up three hits, got three outs in the air, and another three on the ground.
  • High-A Tampa won. Bradley Suttle drew a walk, but Melky Mesa left the game after being hit by a pitch. He did stay in to run the bases for himself, and didn’t exit until the next half-inning. Zoilo Almonte and Addison Maruszak each had a pair of hits, and Jack Rye doubled and drove in a pair. Sean Black allowed just two hits and struck out five in 5.1 scoreless frames. Pat Venditte blew the save when he allowed an inherited runner to score, but he still managed to strikeout four in 2.2 innings.
  • Low-A Charleston lost. Slade Heathcott drew a walk in five trips to the plate only to be one-upped by J.R. Murphy, who walked three times in four plate appearances. Rob Lyerly and Craig Mahoney each had two hits, with one of Mahoney’s being a double. Luke Murton went deep for a solo shot. Nothing exciting on the mound at all.
  • Short Season Staten Island lost. Cito Culver went hitless, but Rob Segedin had two knocks including his first professional homerun, so congrats to him. Gary Sanchez singled and walk while Kelvin DeLeon did the same, just replace the walk with a double. Nik Turley struck out five and allowed three runs in five innings of work.
  • Rookie GCL Yanks lost. Mason Williams, Angelo Gumbs, and Ben Gamel all singled for their only hit. Williams also drew a walk. Zach Nuding, this year’s 30th rounder, made his pro debut, allowing two runs to match his two strikeouts in two innings. This was the final game of their season, which is now over. They did not qualify for the playoffs. In fact, they had the worst record in the division at 24-32.

Game 129: At least it’s CC

Pitching has not been pretty lately. Save for CC Sabathia, of course. He’s been a rock in the rotation all year, despite a somewhat rough patch earlier. The other guys in the rotation picked him up then, and now he’s returned the favor tenfold. The Yanks need him to keep it up tonight, in need of a win after a rough series against the Jays and then last night’s loss to the White Sox.

Offense would help, too, but unfortunately the Yanks have to contend with John Danks. They made him work last time, so there’s hope that they can get something going tonight. Granderson takes the night off, which is probably a good idea considering the tough lefty. He’s been better, and he did hit a couple of lefties in Toronto, but no need to push it.

Lineup:

1. Derek Jeter, SS
2. Nick Swisher, RF
3. Mark Teixeira, 1B
4. Robinson Cano, 2B
5. Marcus Thames, DH
6. Jorge Posada, C
7. Austin Kearns, LF
8. Brett Gardner, CF
9. Eduardo Nunez, 3B

And on the mound, number fifty-two, CC Sabathia.

Buyer Beware……….in 2015

Felix Hernandez recently became the 3rd youngest player since 1950 to reach 1000 career strikeouts.  While the offseason extension he signed may have put a damper on the King Felix to NY dreams, he still will hit free agency at the age of 29.  Next time around don’t expect much of a team friendly deal though, and the Yankees will certainly be in the mix barring a disaster for Felix on the way.

What are the odds of this disaster?  As a young guy with a ton of pitches already on his arm, is he more predisposed to injury or burning out too soon?  I decided to take a look at other pitchers who reached 1000 strikeouts before their age 26 season.  Since 1950, 11 pitchers have done this.  Let’s take a look at who they are and how they performed until they were 25 and how they performed from 29 (when Felix will likely become a FA) to 35.

Future Hall of Famer Bert Blyleven is 1st on the list.  While he was still a very good pitcher, he saw decreases in his K/9 rate (to 6.7) and K/BB rate (to 2.79).  Also, his ERA+ dropped from a stellar 132 to a decent 118.  His best years certainly came before hitting 29 but he was very productive into his mid 30’s.

Everyone is aware of Dwight Gooden’s problems and his career certainly peaked early, but if his early workload was a factor(likely), it was only one of many.  Doc certainly battled his demons throughout the years.  Ages 29-35 were not pretty for Doc, with a 6.1 K/9, 1.44 K/BB and a 96 ERA+.  He was done at the age of 35.

Sam McDowell’s last good year as a major league pitcher came at the age of 28 (after a league leading 305 innings at 27).  He was done at 32.  From 29-32 he was bad, with a 6.9 K/9, 1.23 K/BB and 87 ERA+.  After a very solid start to his career, McDowell was out of the game at an age where Randy Johnson had just 104 wins.

Fernandomania is next.  Even though he came along later than most of the guys on this group, Valenzuela still came up in an era where pitch counts were mostly ignored.  While he also battled some conditioning issues, I think the workload certainly caught up to Fernando.  After a stunning start to his career, Fernando’s last good season came at 25 and was less than mediocre after the age of 29.  From 29-35 Fernando had a 4.8 K/9 ratio, 1.38 K/BB ratio and 91 ERA+.  He retired at 36.

While Don Drysdale is in the Hall of Fame, his late career was not great and he retired at 32.  From 29-32 his K/9 ratio was 5.8 with a strong 3.17 BB/9 ratio and about a league average ERA+ of 105.  Leading the league in starts for 4 straight years from 25-28 (eclipsing 300 innings every year) certainly couldn’t have helped him in his twilight.  He basically did nothing after the age of 28 that bolstered his Hall of Fame chances other than compile a few more wins.

Frank Tanana was a great young left handed fireballer (I’ve heard Jon Lester as a good comp.) who was one of the best pitchers in baseball before he hurt his arm. He came back and  reinvented himself as a soft tosser.  While he was pretty successful afterwards, he never again approached his early career success.  From 29-35 he had ratios of 5.9 K/9, 2.12 K/BB and a 107 ERA+.

Denny McLain had some Gooden like off the field issues, but was out of baseball at 28 primarily due to serious arm problems.  At ages 24 and 25 he threw 661 innings combined and threw just 384.1 the rest of his career.  He appeared to be on his way to the Hall of Fame (114-57 thru 25) but clearly never came close.  He never even reached his age 29 season, but from 26-28 he struck out just 4.3 batters per 9 with a 1.46 K/BB ratio and a 73 ERA+. The workload certainly got to McLain soon after he was old enough to rent a car.

Larry Dierker’s career got started at 17 (and think of how impressive what Jesus Montero is doing in AAA at the age of 20).  Shockingly enough (or not shocking at all), Dierker was done at 30.  At 29 and 30 Dierker had a 4.7 K/9, 1.34 K/BB and an 87 ERA+.  Good thing he threw those 305 innings at the age of 22 though.

Former A and Yankee Catfish Hunter is up next, and while he stuck around long enough to be enshrined in Cooperstown (his worthiness is another discussion) Catfish’s career also ended early and his career as a great pitcher ended as soon as he hit 30.  He actually wasn’t a great pitcher from 19-25 but racked up a ton of innings getting him plenty of strikeouts.  His best years came from 25-29 but was about average after that.  From 29-33 he struck out 4.5 batters per 9, had a 1.84 K/BB ratio and a 103 ERA+ that includes his 144 ERA+ at 29.

Last on the list is Joe Coleman who was done at 32 and threw just 378 innings after 29.  He had a 4.9 K/9 and a 1.25 K/BB to go along with a 101 ERA+.  At 18 he threw 93 innings between the minors and majors.  At 19 it was 208.  Too bad Tom Verducci wasn’t around to save the day.

I didn’t know what I was going to encounter when I started this post, but maybe Nolan Ryan should take a look.   A lot of these guys burned out early and it would be interesting to see what they could have accomplished with today’s workloads and pitching programs.  I don’t think it’s a coincidence that a lot of these guys were out of the game so early, and none of them could match their early successes.  While I don’t think too much can be culled from these comparisons I think it’s interesting nonetheless.   Clearly Felix has been groomed differently as a big money bonus baby whose every move and pitch has been tracked since he signed.  Still, there is no guarantee he will be healthy down the road, and some believe you only have so many bullets in an arm before its shot.  I hope Felix is sitting there as a big free agent at 29 because that will mean continued health and success for him.  If he ends up on the Yankees down the road, lets just hope he breaks the mold of the list of guys above.

Sloppy play dooms Yanks against ChiSox

(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

This entire game was an absolute mess, not even worth a full recap and my time. Not only did A.J. Burnett stink (3.1 IP, 8 H, 9 R, 8 ER, 3 BB, 3 K), but the Yankees played a simply atrocious game in the field. Somehow they were only charged with one error (on a Frankie Cervelli throw), but there were numerous wild pitches/passed balls, a few airmailed throws by Nick Swisher (who hit a garbage time homer), and just generally horrific decision making all night. The kids playing in the Little League World Series this week had better fundamentals.

Derek Jeter grounded into yet another double play and Mark Teixeira popped the ball up on the infield what felt like a millions times. Seriously, he must lead the planet in infield pops even with his second half surge. Just a poor, poor showing all around, and Joe Girardi was visibly pissed in the dugout. He seemed to indicate during his post-game press conference that Burnett might be skipped next time through, but the problems tonight extended beyond the starting pitcher. Girardi seriously needs to find a way to get everyone’s head out of their collective asses. Losing four of your last seven games (against non-contenders, no less) isn’t going to cut it at this time of year. At least the Rays lost, so the Yanks remain tied atop the AL East, but Boston is the team that beat them, so they crept to within four-and-a-half games of the Wild Card spot.

The two best players on the field for the Yanks tonight were Ramiro Pena (numerous great defensive plays, stolen base that led to a run) and Sergio Mitre (4.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K, 10-4 GB/FB in relief). Think about that.

Noesi makes Triple-A debut in win

Adam Warren was In The Team Photo of this week’s Prospect Hot Sheet. Also make sure you check out Rebecca’s photos from last night’s SI game.

Triple-A Scranton (10-7 win over Lehigh Valley)
Kevin Russo, 2B & Greg Golson, CF: both 1 for 5 – Russo drove in a pair of runs & stole a base … Golson doubled & K’ed twice
Jesus Montero, C: 2 for 5, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI – nine for his last 26 (.346) with a double and two homers
Juan Miranda, 1B: 0 for 4, 1 R, 1 BB
Jorge Vazquez, 3B: 1 for 2, 3 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 1 E (fielding) – very nice night, save the error
Colin Curtis, RF: 1 for 3, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K – 13 for his last 35 (.371) with seven freaking doubles
Chad Huffman, DH: 1 for 3, 2 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K
Eric Bruntlett, SS: 2 for 4, 1 R, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 1 K
Reid Gorecki, LF: 1 for 4, 1 R, 1 RBI – first game since August 13th … wow
Hector Noesi: 6 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 8-3 GB/FB – 54 of his 80 pitches were strikes (67.5%) … not a terrible AAA debut
Al Aceves: 1.2 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 2 HB, 0-3 GB/FB – just 22 of 42 pitches were strikes (52.4%) … second rehab beatdown in a row
Eric Wordekemper: 1.1 IP, zeroes, 1 K2-1 GB/FB – a dozen of his 16 pitches were strikes

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