Yanks come from behind, escape Tampa with win

Source: FanGraphs

The streak is over. For the first time in nearly a full calendar year, the Yankees won a game at Tropicana Field on Wednesday. If that’s not a great way to celebrate the birth of our nation, nothing is. Let’s recap…

  • Comeback: The Rays had a 3-1 lead through seven, but the Yankees put together a three-run rally in the eighth when Kyle Farnsworth walked the bases loaded before walking in New York’s second run. It’s easy to make a “that’s a Farnsworth we know!” joke, but c’mon. The Farnsworth we know would have walked two men then given up a three-run homer. Anyway, Alex Rodriguez took ball four to force in a run then one batter later Robinson Cano laced a two-strike single to center that scored both the game-tying and go-ahead run. It was a thing of beauty.
  • Spot Start: David Phelps definitely had the strikeout pitch working against Tampa, whiffing eight guys through 4.1 innings of work. He also walked three and hit two batters, so let’s call it effectively wild. Phelps hit his pitch count before the end of the fifth and allowed just one run, an little flare single to right by noted Yankees killer Sean Rodriguez. He threw a first pitch strike to 14 of 19 batters faced and only six guys put the ball in play. Hopefully he can tighten up the pitch count and be more efficient in the future, assuming he gets another start with CC Sabathia due to return after the break.
  • Bullpen: Boone Logan was the team’s least effective pitcher — he surrendered a two-run, go-ahead homer to Carlos Pena in the seventh — but he ended up with the win. Hooray for that. The unsung hero was Cody Eppley, who picked up two enormous strikeouts to escape a jam in the fifth before chipping in a scoreless sixth. David Robertson (one walk) and Rafael Soriano (no baserunners) worked scoreless eighth and ninth innings, respectively. Between Phelps and the various relievers, the Yankees struck out 16 Rays on Wednesday. Those last two or three innings were nail-biters, but outside of Logan the relief corps was pretty stellar.
  • Leftovers: I saw my first ever umpire’s interference call in this game as Jose Lobaton hit the home plate ump with his hand as he threw down to third on A-Rod‘s steal attempt, a (correct) call that looked huge when the Yankees were unable to score in that seventh inning … speaking of that inning, Alex effective stole third twice but Nick Swisher didn’t bother to steal second as the trail runner, which is doubly knuckle-headed on his part … Curtis Granderson didn’t put the ball in play once, walking twice and striking out thrice … Mark Teixeira tied the game with a solo shot in the seventh after David Price completely manhandled the Yankees for the first 6+ innings … Cano made a great lunging catch in the first that saved at least one run and most likely two, a huge and easy-to-forget moment in the game … the 3-4-5 hitters went a combined 5-for-12 with three walks while the rest of the lineup went a combined 3-for-22 with four walks … Jeter and Granderson combined to see 60 (!) pitches, or one-third of all pitches thrown by Tampa.

MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs the nerd score, and ESPN the updated standings. We’re officially halfway through the season and the Yankees are five games up on the Orioles in the loss column, six up on the Rays, and seven up on the Red Sox. Pretty great place to be. The Bombers will take Thursday off before heading up to Boston for four games in three days against the Sawx in the final series before the All-Star break. Hiroki Kuroda and Josh Beckett get things started on Friday night.

Flores & Heathcott continue hot hitting in loss

Good news: OF Tyler Austin went for a CT scan after getting hit in the head by a pitch last night and everything came back clean. Here’s video of the pitch; it looks like he was able to duck out of the way just in time to avoid a full-on impact. Hopefully he’s back in a few days and is able to participate in the Futures Game this Sunday.

In other news, Austin Romine (back) has been catching bullpen sessions down in Tampa but Joe Girardi confirmed that he’s still “a couple of weeks away from playing in a game.”

Triple-A Scranton (8-5 loss to Lehigh Valley)
CF Chris Dickerson: 0-2, 2 K, 1 E (throwing) — he was replaced by a pinch-hitter for an unknown reason in the third
PH-CF Ray Kruml: 1-4, 2 K
2B Corban Joseph & LF Ronnie Mustelier: both 2-6, 1 K — CoJo doubled and drove in a run … Mustelier stole a base and scored a run
DH Jack Cust: 1-3, 1 R, 2 BB, 1 K, 1 SB — 104 strikeouts and 66 walks in 80 games
1B Russell Brandon & 3B Brandon Laird: both 2-4, 2 R, 1 HR — Branyan hit a solo shot, walked, and struck out … Laird drove in three and got hit by a pitch
RF Cole Garner: 2-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 BB
C Gus Molina: 1-3, 1 R, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 2 BB
SS Ramiro Pena: 0-5, 2 K, 1 E (throwing)
RHP Nelson Figueroa: 6 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 10/5 GB/FB — 68 of 95 pitches were strikes (71.6%)
RHP Cory Wade: 1 IP, zeroes, 2/1 GB/FB — nine pitches, seven strikes … first appearance since being sent down, and he’s expected to be the 26th man for Saturday’s doubleheader against the Red Sox
RHP Chase Whitley: 1 IP, zeroes, 2/1 GB/FB — nine pitches, six strikes
RHP Ryota Igarashi: 1 IP, zeroes, 2 K — 14 pitches, ten strikes

[Read more…]

Fourth of July Open Thread

‘Murica (AP Photo/Rich Schultz)

Hooray America!, but boo whoever decided it was a good idea to make the Fourth of July a Wednesday this year. Seriously, I hate these mid-week holidays. You barely get to enjoy ’em and it almost feels like a waste to burn two vacation days between the holiday and the weekend. Enough complaining, time to enjoy the evening.

Anyway, here is tonight’s open thread. The Rangers and White Sox (Feldman vs. Axelrod) will air on ESPN tonight, but feel free to talk about whatever you want here. Have at it.

Game 81: Halfway There

(Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

Today is America’s birthday and it marks the halfway point of he 2012 season. The Yankees come into their 81st game with 48 wins on the year but also four losses in their last six games. Thanks to some well-timed AL East mediocrity, both the Red Sox and Orioles gained zero games in the standings while Tampa gained just one during that time. Hooray for that.

It’s too bad the Yankees have to spend the holiday playing indoors in a stupid dome, but that’s life. Blame the schedule-makers. Here’s the lineup as the Bombers look to avoid getting swept at Tropicana Field for the second time this year…

SS Derek Jeter
CF Curtis Granderson
1B Mark Teixeira
DH Alex Rodriguez
2B Robinson Cano
RF Nick Swisher
LF Andruw Jones
Russell Martin
3B Jayson Nix

RHP David Phelps

This afternoon’s game starts at 3pm ET and can be seen on YES locally and MLB Network nationally. Enjoy.

Update: Yankees claim Darnell McDonald off waivers from Red Sox

The Yankees have claimed Darnell McDonald off waivers from the Red Sox, who cut him last weekend. McDonald first broke the news on his Twitter feed and the team has since confirmed the move. He’ll will join the Yankees in Fenway Park on Friday and that’s when the team will make the corresponding 25-man roster move. To make room on the 40-man roster, the recently claimed Chris Schwinden was designated for assignment.

McDonald, 33, has hit just .214/.309/.369 in 99 plate appearances for the Red Sox this year but over the last three seasons he’s hit a respectable .252/.323/.413. He does most of his damage against southpaws, owning a .277/.345/.441 batting line against left-handers in his career. McDonald can play all three outfield spots well enough and is out of options, meaning he can’t be sent to the minors without first clearing waivers.

The Yankees can send David Phelps down following today’s start since CC Sabathia is coming back after the All-Star break, which means they’d have a five-man bench for the Red Sox series. It’s worth noting that Boston is scheduled to start three left-handed pitchers — Jon Lester, Franklin Morales, and Felix Doubront — this weekend. Nice and sneaky little move if they picked up McDonald just for that series.

Olney: Yankees have “no intention” in joining bidding for Hamels

Via Buster Olney, the Yankees have “no intention” of getting involved in the bidding for Cole Hamels unless the Phillies’ asking price dropped dramatically. The other day we heard that Philadelphia had begun to gauge trade interest in their homegrown ace left-hander.

We’re going to hear an awful lot of stuff like this in the coming weeks and almost all of it posturing. The Yankees have no reason not to say they won’t get involved unless the price drops and about a million reasons not to say they will get involved. At the end of the day, it’s all about putting yourself in the best possible position to negotiate. Saying you aren’t interested is the best way to do that.

Injury Updates: CC, Feliciano, Nunez, Aardsma

(REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine)

Two days ago we learned that Joba Chamberlain is expected to begin a minor league rehab assignment within two weeks. Here are some more injury updates courtesy of Chad Jennings and George King

  • CC Sabathia (groin) played catch prior to last night’s game and will throw a bullpen session — his first since going on the DL — on Friday. The team still expects him back right after next week’s All-Star break.
  • Pedro Feliciano (shoulder) threw a bullpen session in front of the braintrust yesterday. He’s currently throwing every three days but the plan is to bump him up to every other day at some point. Joe Girardi said there’s a legitimate chance the southpaw will help the team this season, but I wouldn’t count on it. Anything they get out of him is gravy.
  • Eduardo Nunez (thumb) is on the Triple-A disabled list and has just started taking batting practice. “He hopes to play in a couple of weeks or so,” said Girardi.
  • David Aardsma (elbow) went for various test following his recent setback, but the results aren’t available yet.