Yanks offense explodes again, down Tigers 9-5

The games are always more fun when the offense comes alive. Last night’s game wasn’t perfect, but every time the Tigers even tried to make it interesting the offense came back and put it further out of reach. Chad Gaudin, in what is probably his last appearance for the Yankees, tried to make things interesting, but Robertson bailed him out. After the dust settled and the bullpen was emptied, the Yanks had secured their second win of the series.

Biggest Hit: Don’t give Teixeira a pitch like that…

(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

…He might just crush it. Jeremy Bonderman didn’t look so hot at the start of this one. His first pitch caught Brett Gardner on the calf, though that might have been retaliation for Gardner’s slide on Monday night, which put Carlos Guillen in a bodybag on the DL. Bonderman then got Jeter to strike out swinging, though the two called strikes were pretty borderline and Jeter took a poor swing at ball two. That brought up Teixeira, who took two pitches that looked out of the zone, though the first was called a strike. I dunno, maybe that angered him or something.

Or maybe Bonderman just threw a horrible pitch. It was a changeup that didn’t get down far enough. Tex clobbered it, sending it into the second deck for his 27th home run of the year. That’s not a bad total for a guy who is hitting far below his normal level on the season. Robinson Cano wasted little time in extending the lead, hitting an inside fastball over the right field wall for his second home run in as many games. Offense? Game on.

Honorable Mention: Pena triples

If Ramiro Pena triples, chances are it’s going to feature prominently in the recap. It helps that it was the second-largest WPA swing of the game, giving the chances a 13 percent better chance of winning the game. That came in the fourth, after the Tigers, on the power of two Miguel Cabrera home runs, had cut the lead to 3-2. Pena came up with Austin Kearns on first base and hit the ball with precision. It landed and rolled in a way that prevented both Ryan Raburn and Austin Jackson from fielding it before it rolled to the wall. Combine that with them rightfully playing Pena shallow and it was an easy triple and RBI.

The very next batter, Brett Gardner, did something similar, splitting the center and left fielders for a double of his own. This is one reason I like the Yankees offense so much: precision and power. They can manufacture runs and they cudgel a team. Either way they score more runs than any other team in the league.

That Miguel Cabrera

(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Thankfully, neither of Miguel Cabrera’s home runs hurt the Yankees tonight. Which is perfect. Before the season I did a FanGraphs podcast with Dave Cameron where we exchanged predictions. He had Josh Hamilton as AL MVP, I had Miguel Cabrera. His pick was more of a reach at the time, and he’s probably winning. I just thought Cabrera was going to have a monster comeback year, creating an excellent story following his drunken antics at the end of last season.

After his 2 for 3, two-homer night Cabrera sits at .340/.433/.644, which trails Hamilton only in BA. He also now leads the AL in RBI with 98; A-Rod has 97. In many years a .340 BA with 30 HR and 98 RBI might start a Triple Crown watch, but Cabrera is seven homers behind Jose Bautista and is 16 points behind in BA. He could still take the triple crown of, I dunno, RBI, walks, and OBP. In any case, it’s always nice to watch a player like that at work when he’s not causing your team to lose.

Miscellany

(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Gaudin again brought into question why he’s on this team. Aceves could be back tomorrow. Roster move? I’m not sure, only because of the depth issue.

Could Ivan Nova, who had another excellent game in AAA, take Moseley’s next turn in the rotation? They’d line up.

Another game, another homer for Curtis Granderson. That’s three now since the Kansas City series. That’s now 9 for 26 (.346) with three walks (.414 OBP), two doubles, and three homers (.769 SLG).

Two more walks gives Cano 44 on the season. He’s already five up on his previous career high, and in 160 fewer PA. That puts him on pace for 58 walks, which would be more than his last two seasons combined.

Austin Kearns and Kerry Wood: good deadline pickups.

Graph and box

A couple of dents, sure, but man is that line moving in the right direction.

More at FanGraphs. And here’s the box score.

Up Next

Getaway day, which only happens when the Yanks are home. Phil Hughes could use a good start after the Yanks emptied the bullpen. He’ll face Rick Porcello at 1 tomorrow afternoon.

Warren steals the show in action-packed night

Update: A trio of prospects are Staten Island-bound. Gary Sanchez, Cito Culver and, as expected, the recently-signed Rob Segedin have been promoted to Short Season Staten Island. Segedin blasted his first career home run earlier tonight. With these call-ups, the Staten Island roster just became much more interesting. Their season runs through the first weekend in September; catch ‘em while you can.

I’m away for a little mini-vacation, so you’re getting bullet points until I get back on Monday…

Game 120: Back on track

(AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Last night’s game was refreshing. After a few bouts of offensive futility the Yanks came back and knocked home some runners. A couple guys, Curtis Granderson and Brett Gardner, continued working their ways out of slumps. And, of course, we saw our favorite, though undeserving, Cy Young candidate. More of all that, please.

Tonight Dustin Moseley takes the mound for another start in place of Andy Pettitte. He’ll get a few more, since Pettitte plans to stay off his feet this week in an attempt to more fully recover from his injured groin. Chances are he won’t return until rosters expand. That leaves Mosley in the spot until further notice. He recovered well after a rocky start last time out, so there are is at least one positive sign. Overall I have to say that he’s been a pleasant surprise.

Jeremy Bonderman, who pitched very well against the Yanks last time around, takes the mound for the Tigers. That last start came all the way back on May 12 and it was one of his best on the season. It was part of his good stretch, during which he allowed just seven earned runs in 35 innings. But since June 6 he has thrown 70 innings to a 6.30 ERA. The Yanks really need to make like the White Sox, who pounded him for six runs in six innings last time out.

A-Rod‘s still out of the lineup. Berkman is, too, but he says he’s available to pinch hit. That’s great and all, but the only player he’s realistically going to hit for is Ramiro Pena, who has no backup because A-Rod is on the shelf. He might hit for Kearns, but Kearns has been very good and in any case they’d have to either put Thames in the OF or lose the DH. Neither seems like an attractive option. So the most realistic situation is one more day of rest.

Lineup:

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

And on the mound, number forty, Dustin Moseley.

Re-imagining two Yankee legends

As part of his Pulitzer-worthy work exposing how head injuries impact athletes, Alan Schwarz in today’s New York Times takes on a controversial question: Did Lou Gehrig actually suffer from Lou Gehrig’s disease? Although his is a prime example where time will not, in fact, tell, peer-reviewed researched released today indicates that the long-term degenerative effects of multiple concussions on the brain mimics the effects of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou Gehrig’s disease. Gehrig, says Schwarz, was known to have suffered numerous concussions both as a college football player and as a baseball player in an era where helmets were not a part of the game. Awareness organizations need Gehrig for the name he gives the disease, but researchers are finding that, when it comes to brain trauma, the first diagnosis isn’t always the correct on. “Here he is, the face of his disease, and he may have had a different disease as a result of his athletic experience,” Dr. Ann McKee, the head researcher of the study, said to Schwarz.

Babe Ruth’s final moments in pinstripes at Yankee Stadium are nearly as iconic as Lou Gehrig’s. Just days away from death and with cancer ravaging his body, Ruth, supported by a bat, took to the microphone at Yankee Stadium to thank the crowd for years of love. Life Magazine’s Ralph Morse went to the stadium and snapped some amazing color photos that had, for sixty years, sat unused. Now, in a slideshow entitled “Babe Ruth: The Last Goodbye, June 13, 1948,” Life has published these photos in an online slideshow. The photos bring to life a Yankee legend few alive today ever saw play.

Scenes from the NY/Penn League All Star Game

It takes a ferry trip and a 4 train ride to get from the Richmond County Bank Ballpark at the northern tip of Staten Island to Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, but for the kids who played at last night’s New York/Penn League All Star Game, the trip is far longer than that. The American League All Stars downed the National League club 4-3, and Yankee farmhand Chase Whitley saved the game for his Staten Island teammate Preston Claiborne.

For the game last night, I sat in the press box with my first professional baseball credential. The game itself was nothing spectacular. This year’s Penn League prospects are weak, and the pitching — along with a few bad fielding plays — took center stage. So instead of a narrative about the game or a talk about the players. I wanted to share some scenes from the stadium.

Minor League games have a much different feel to them than Major League games. The formalities of a baseball game give way to a small-town feel as on-field contests dominate the between-innings entertainment, and the players themselves are mostly just a few weeks removed from their college season. One of the bigger differences, besides the level of play, is the way fans are involved in the game. It all starts with Scooter the Holy Cow:

Scooter entered the stadium via a checkered cab and spent much of the game milking the crowd. Even though the Bronx’s Yankee Dandy mascot never stuck, Scooter enjoys a good rapport with kids chanting his name when he shows up on the field. He even chest-bumped the Yanks’ own Jose Mojica during introductions.

The game itself zipped along, and for me, the crowd and surrounding environs were more interesting. I spied a Randy Johnson Yankee jersey, an old-school Ryan Braun jersey, and a Josh Hamilton set as well. The chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream from Hershey’s was nearly as good as the SI Yanks helmet cup in which it came.

The Yankees were well-represented. Jose Mojica singled, and Eduardo Sosa, injured, served as his first base coach. Chase Whitley, as I mentioned, recorded the save, and the American League went home happy, winners of the NY-Penn League All Star Game yet again.

After the jump, a full slideshow from the evening. [Read more…]

Canali re-ups with a closer

Dreams of wars and liars or a nice cashmere sweater.

Mariano Rivera‘s second career as a high-class male fashion model is truly taking off. After donning Canali pinstripes for the spring, the Yanks’ closer and the Italian designer have teamed up for the fall. Rivera sat for a photo shoot in June and sytled a navy pinstripe two-button suit, a double-breasted cashmere coat and a gray cashmere-blend jacket, reports WWDMen’s. “I was thrilled to be asked again by Canali to be featured in the advertising campaign,” Rivera said. “I have been a fan of the brand for many years.”

A Canali spokesperson said that Rivera was “a pro in front of the camera.” Elisabetta Canali, the firm’s global communications director, said inviting Rivera back was “an easy decision for us to feature him again in this season’s advertising campaign.” Look out for the ads this month.

Should the Yankees pursue Barret Loux?

(AP Photo/Alonzo Adams)

You probably caught this yesterday, but Bud Selig and the rest of his Major League Baseball gang have ruled that Barret Loux, a 21-year-old righthander out of Texas A&M, will become a free agent on Sept. 1st of this year and be able to sign with any club he chooses. The Diamondbacks selected Loux with the sixth overall pick in June’s amateur draft, then reached an agreement with him on a slightly below slot $2M bonus (he was generally considered more of a back of the first round talent) only to have the player fail his physical due to shoulder and elbow issues.

The decision by MLB was remarkably fair actually, since the hard asses at the NCAA would have ruled Loux ineligible to play for the Aggies next year since he used an agent to negotiate with Arizona (nice job driving one of your best athletes away, NCAA!). His only option would have been an independent league, far from ideal. The Diamondbacks will get a compensation pick for their troubles (meaning they’ll likely have two top seven picks in next year’s epiphany draft), and now Loux gets to shop his services around to the highest bidder. The problem is that he’s damaged goods.

According to Jeff Passan, Loux’s physical revealed two major issues: he has a tear (of unknown severity) in his labrum, and enough ligament damage to his elbow to forecast Tommy John surgery in the future. While obviously very serious, the elbow is not the long-term concern, the shoulder is. The 6-foot-4, 220 lb. righty wasn’t a huge stuff guy to begin with – low-90’s fastball, hard changeup, okay slider and knucklecurve (video) – and the labrum issue could potentially sap his arsenal even further. The Diamondbacks took Loux with the idea of having him moving quickly as a mid-rotation starter to help their beleaguered staff, not because he had tremendous upside.

I thought I remember seeing that the Yanks were interested in Loux with their first round pick back in the spring, but I’m wrong. Turns out they were just projected to take him in a mock draft. Either way, here’s an opportunity for the Yankees to add a first round caliber talent to the system using nothing but their checkbook. They have shown a willingness to gamble on injured prospects in the past, though they’ve definitely scaled back on the practice in recent years.

Given the injury, it’s incredibly unlikely that Loux will command the same $2M bonus he’d agreed to with the Diamondbacks, but the competitive nature of the open market should still land him a seven-figure payout. I can’t imagine that he and his agent would reasonably demand a big league contract even ignoring the injury, he’s simply not that kind of talent. All it takes it one GM to make it happen, though. While the allure of adding a highly touted talent to the farm system is exciting, we have to remember what we’re dealing with here. Shoulder issues are scary, scary business, and if the Yanks had drafted him and the injury came to light later, we’d all want them to walk away and take the compensation pick like the Diamondbacks did. Loux being a free agent now shouldn’t change things.

It’s just money, something the Yankees have plenty of, but we’re not talking about a high reward kind of player with Loux. He was projected as an unspectacular mid-rotation guy from the outset, and his two arm-related injuries greatly increase the likelihood of a zero return. It’s one thing to gamble on a player with the upside of Andrew Brackman when he needs a routine (but again, obviously still serious) elbow reconstruction, but it’s another thing all together to do that when the best case scenario is a middling return.

The Yanks have build up a tremendous amount of pitching depth in the minors, and while there’s always a reason to add more, at some point you have to take a step back and look at a player for what he is. Loux has the mystique of being a high draft pick, but he’s damaged goods and I would not recommend spending seven figures on him. That money, no matter what budget it’s coming out of, can be better used elsewhere.