Yanks play homerun derby in Toronto, win 11-5

There’s not much better than turning the tables on a division rival the day after they hand you a loss and show you up in the process. The Yankees returned to Rogers Centre with a plan to put Monday’s loss behind them, and that plan involved hitting several baseballs far, far away. Order was restored to the universe with a big win, and the Yanks moved that much closer to securing themselves a postseason berth.

(AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Frank Gunn)

Bombs Away

When you rack up just shy of a dozen runs, there’s really no such thing as that one big hit. Sure, WPA says it was Marcus Thames‘ two run homer to make it five-love in the 3rd, but I think we’re slighting the rest of the offense if we just automatically dub that the biggest hit. I prefer to spread the love around whenever possible.

(AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Frank Gunn)

Certainly we can’t forget Mark Teixeira‘s single back through the box in the 1st inning to plate the Yanks’ first run, nor can we ignore his solo shot to make it three-zip Yanks in the 3rd. Then there’s Jorge Posada‘s two run shot two batters later and his run scoring single in the 6th, and of course you have Derek Jeter‘s first outside-the-park homerun since June 12th in that same inning (he has hit one inside-the-parker in the interim). I can’t pick a favorite, can you?

More than the homers or the rest of the offensive explosion, what I enjoyed most is that the Yanks actually listened to me. I used the game thread to ask the team to pay the Jays back for Monday’s loss and Jose Bautista’s antics not by plunking the game’s leading homerun hitter or anything like that, but by pounding them into submission. I wanted runs, runs, and more runs, and they delivered. Toronto won the first game and had a nice little feel good moment doing so, but the Yankees reminded them who was in charge in this game. That’s what first place clubs do to fourth place clubs.

(AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Frank Gunn)

Mos(el)eying Along

The Yanks’ rotation has suddenly turned into a hodgepodge of mediocrity behind CC Sabathia and Phil Hughes, and at the forefront of that mediocrity is Dustin Moseley. The sinkerballing righthander has been essentially replacement level during his four starts prior to this one, but he was a bit better this time out. His six relatively unspectacular innings featured five hits (all singles), four walks, four strikeouts, two runs, seven ground ball outs, and 97 total pitches just (50 strikes).

Moseley’s biggest jam of the night came in the 4th inning, when Toronto put runners at the corners with no outs and managed to push across just a single run. Like I said, it was a fine outing, and I guess my biggest complaint is that he walked the leadoff man in the 5th (with a six run lead) and 6th (nine run lead) innings, which is a big no-no. Just throw strikes in those spots dude, I’d rather give up a solo homer than start a potentially big inning without making the batter take the bat off his shoulders. No offense to Dustin, but I sure hope Andy Pettitte gets healthy soon.

Leftovers

Nick Swisher‘s 1st inning double was a thing of beauty. Fell into a quick 0-2 count, then waited back on a breaking ball and drove it the other way for a ground rule double. He never did that kind of stuff last year. His improvement as a hitter has been pretty fun to watch, not that he was bad before. Unfortunately Swish had to leave the game after fouling a ball off his left leg, but it doesn’t sound serious at all.

(AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Frank Gunn)

Love the hard-nosed play by Marcus Thames, running over catcher John Buck in the 2nd inning. He knocked the ball loose, but managed to miss the plate despite flying right over it. Oh well, still respect him for going in hard. He’s tough, he used to be in the National Guard. Marcus went 3-for-4 with the walk, pumping his season line up to .313/.399/.463. I don’t think anyone saw that coming.

One night after an 0-for-3, three strikeout game, Curtis Granderson was all over the place in this one. He made a great running catch deep in the right-centerfield gap in the very 1st inning, then walked, singled, and homered off lefties in his first three trips to the plate. The homer was a three run shot on a first pitch slider of all things, not exactly a pitch you usually see hit for power. He also singled later in the game. Since remaking his swing with hitting coach Kevin Long in Texas, the Grandyman is hitting .326/.420/.698. That’ll do.

(AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Frank Gunn)

Oh, and on top of that, Grandy threw a runner out at the plate. Brett Gardner did the same on Monday, as did Nick Swisher on Sunday. I can only assume Austin Kearns will get in on the action tomorrow.

Oddly enough, the only two players in the starting lineup who didn’t get in the hit column were Robbie Cano and Kearns. Cano’s simply been one of the best hitters on the planet this year, and Kearns starting the night with an 11 game hit streak. Both guys drew walks and eventually came around to score, so not all was lost.

Chad Gaudin had actually been pitching pretty well this month (8 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 8 K) before this game, though he promptly allowed a trio of runs in two innings of work. If he’s going to have a meltdown, I guess this is the kind of game to do it in. Meanwhile, how can you not love Kerry Wood? What a great pickup.

Jays’ starter Marc Rzepczynski lasted just three innings in this one, the first time the Yanks have knocked a pitcher out of a game that early (without the help of injury) since getting to Fausto Carmona on July 28th. He allowed three homers, all coming in that 3rd inning of work.

The Red Sox were rained out, so the Yanks’ cushion on a playoff spot stands at six full games.

WPA Graph & Box Score

I love it when these things flatline for about five innings in the Yanks’ favor. MLB.com has your tradition box score, FanGraphs your nontraditional box score.

Up Next

The Yanks will try to win their third straight series Wednesday night when they send Phil Hughes to the mound against southpaw Brett Cecil. For the second night in a row, both starters will have the exact same season ERA (3.90) heading into the game.

Mitchell, Betances debut with their new teams

Make sure you check out Rebecca’s photos from last night’s Short Season Staten Island game.

Triple-A Scranton (5-4 win over Rochester) faced a personal fave, who was the 22nd overall pick in the 2009 draft
Kevin Russo, SS: 0 for 3, 1 BB, 2 K
Greg Golson, CF, Juan Miranda, 1B & Colin Curtis, RF: all 1 for 4 – Golson scored a run … Miranda doubled, drove in two & K’ed twice … Curtis K’ed
Jesus Montero, C: 1 for 4, 1 R, 1 K
Jorge Vazquez, DH: 2 for 4, 1 R
Brandon Laird, 3B: 0 for 4, 1 R – eight for his last 40 (.200) with 11 K
Chad Huffman, LF: 1 for 2, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K
Eric Bruntlett, 2B: 1 for 3, 1 2B, 1 RBI
D.J. Mitchell: 5.2 IP, 11 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 7-6 GB/FB – 61 of 97 pitches were strikes (62.9%) … not terrible, not great for a AAA debut
Royce Ring: 0.1 IP, zeroes, 0-1 GB/FB – just one of his three pitches was a strike
Romulo Sanchez: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 2-1 GB/FB – 18 of 29 pitches were strikes (62.1%)
Jon Albaladejo: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 WP – 13 of his 20 pitches were strikes … 79 K & 55 baserunners in 61 IP

[Read more…]

Rumor de la nuit: Hiroki Kuroda

As the August 31st trade deadline draws near, teams — especially those out of contention — are placing most of their rosters on waivers, and the Dodgers are no exception. According to Ken Rosethal, the Dodgers have placed starting pitcher Hiroki Kuroda on waivers, and the Yankees are going to be interested. Kuroda is owed approximately $2.7 million through the end of 2010 and will be free agent, most likely Type B, once the season is over. Said a so-called rival executive to Rosenthal, “I guarantee the Yankees are all over it.”

With Javier Vazquez out of the rotation for now, A.J. Burnett struggling to find consistency and Ivan Nova and Dustin Moseley question marks, Kuroda would be an intriguing option for the Yanks down the stretch. Since making his debut in 2008, Kuroda, now 35, has gotten better with experience. This year, he’s turning in his finest season in the Majors, and despite an 8-11 mark, he has a 3.48 ERA/3.36 FIP with a K/9 IP of 7.2 and a K/BB rate of 3.11. Opponents are hitting .254/.303/.367 off of him, and he would be a fine option to give the Yanks’ length down the stretch.

The question though of course concerns the Yanks’ placement in the waiver line. Because they’re not in the Dodgers’ league and have the best record in the AL, the Yanks have the lowest preference for a claim. With the knowledge that the Yanks are interested, the Red Sox or Rays could attempt to block the claim, but they then run the risk of getting stuck with Kuroda’s not-insignificant contract. Anyway, this is one rumor that may have some legs.

Swisher leaves game with apparent leg injury

Update (10:26pm): Girardi said after the game that it was just soreness and not that big of a deal. I bet Swish gets tomorrow off just so he can have two full days off (counting Thursday’s off day) to recoup.

9:19pm: Nick Swisher left tonight’s game after fouling a ball off his left leg just above the knee in the 7th inning. He initially walked it off to continue the at-bat, but Joe Girardi went out and got him after two more pitches. They had to yank him just to make sure they got ice on the injured area before the swelled up. Hopefully it’s nothing serious and he’ll be back out there in a day or two.

Game 126: Payback

Alex approves. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

The Blue Jays got the best of the Yankees last night, with Jose Bautista getting revenge for an alleged pitch thrown at his head by homering late in the game to break a tie. Now it’s time for the Yanks to get some payback of their own.

I’m not talking about plunking Bautista or anything, let him puff his chest out and think he’s shown everyone he’s the man. He’s going to be playing golf in October one way or the other. I want to win, and not just win, but win big. Bludgeon them right from the start and show no mercy. Remind Bautista and the rest of his teammates that they’re nothing but fourth place afterthoughts in the game’s toughest division, and even though they won the battle yesterday, they were always doomed to lose the war.

Here’s the starting nine…

Jeter, SS
Swisher, RF
Teixeira, 1B
Cano, 2B
Thames, DH
Posada, C
Kearns, LF
Granderson, CF
Nunez, 3B

And on the the bump, it’s Dustin Moseley.

This one’s scheduled to start a little after 7pm ET and can be seen on good ol’ My9. Enjoy.

Steinbrenner stadium tribute set for Sept. 20

The Steinbrenner family announced today that the Yankee organization will unveil a monument in memory of the Boss on September 20 prior to the team’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays. Long-time owner George Steinbrenner passed away on July 13, just nine days after celebrating his 80th birthday. “We remain profoundly grateful and touched by the many expressions of sympathy and support from so many. We wish to thank everyone for their kind thoughts and prayers, which we continue to hold close. We are especially appreciative that our family’s privacy was respected as we grieved the loss of George,” the family said in a statement.

The Steinbrenner monument will be the first new one in Monument Park since the team unveiled a statue in honor of Joe Dimaggio in 1999. “We know we will always share George’s memory with Yankees fans everywhere,” the Steinbrenner said, “and a monument in his honor to be located in Monument Park will reflect the special connection, appreciation and responsibility that George felt for New York Yankees’ fans everywhere as they were always uppermost in his mind.”

Vazquez skipped as Nova tabbed for Sunday

Fresh off of his strong start against the Blue Jays, Ivan Nova will take the ball against the White Sox on Sunday instead of Javier Vazquez. Joe Girardi said that Vazquez will be skipped this weekend but will be available out of the bullpen. After a strong May and June, Vazquez has struggled lately. He is 2-2 over his last seven starts but with a 6.69 ERA over 35 innings. He’s allowed 11 home runs over that span, and more alarming than the results have been his stuff. His fastballs were down to the mid-to-low 80s, and his breaking pitches had nothing on them.

Vazquez had complained about a dead arm period two weeks ago, and it seems as though the right-hander has yet to regain his arm strength. Nova’s presence allows the club to give Javy some extra rest in advance of a September stretch drive. The team has not yet announced the rotation beyond this weekend, and we don’t know for how long Javy’s rotation spot will remain in limbo. It sounds however as though Nova, barring a collapse, will remain a rotation option for the remainder of the season. After all, Phil Hughes‘ innings limit will come into play shortly as well.