Game 71: Dickey

(Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

By now everyone is aware of the run R.A. Dickey is on, but the numbers are worth repeating…

Last six starts: 48.2 IP, 21 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 5 BB, 63 K

Opponents are hitting .131/.162/.175 in 168 plate appearances against Dickey during that stretch, which is almost exactly what NL pitchers have hit this season (.131/.165/.166). He’s coming off two straight one-hitters and has been just ridiculous. It’s been fascinating to watch and tonight the Yankees will get a first-hand look at the man who can actually command a knuckleball. Here’s the lineup…

SS Derek Jeter
CF Curtis Granderson
3B Alex Rodriguez
2B Robinson Cano
1B Mark Teixeira
RF Nick Swisher
LF Raul Ibanez
C  Chris Stewart
LHP CC Sabathia

I suppose the plan is have Sabathia match zeroes with Dickey so it becomes a bullpen game. Easier said than done, of course. Anyway, first pitch is scheduled for a little after 8pm ET and can be seen on ESPN. Enjoy.

Russell Martin Update: Martin (stiff back) is available as a pinch-hitter and is expected to start behind the plate tomorrow.

Williams & Sanchez homer in Charleston win

The Yankees released a handful of minor leaguers per Matt Eddy, most notably RHP Brandon Braboy, RHP Rich Martinez, and 1B/C Damian Taveras. IF Garrison Lassiter was also released, cementing his status as the biggest big money ($675k) dud of the 2008 draft.

Triple-A Empire State (4-0 win over Indianapolis)
RF Kevin Russo: 3-4, 2 R, 1 HBP
2B Corban Joseph: 1-5
LF Ronnie Mustelier: 1-4, 1 RBI
DH Jack Cust: 3-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI — second straight game with a homer and third in his last five contests
1B Russell Branyan: 0-3, 1 BB, 1 K
3B Brandon Laird: 1-3, 1 BB
CF Colin Curtis & SS Doug Bernier: both 0-4
C Gus Molina: 1-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI
RHP Adam Warren: 5 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 7/3 GB/FB — 65 of 96 pitches were strikes (67.7%) … lowers his season strikeout rate to 6.15 K/9 (15.7 K%)
RHP Chase Whitley: 2.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, 3/3 GB/FB — 20 of 34 pitches were strikes (58.8%) … had allowed runs in his four previous outings
LHP Juan Cedeno: 0.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K — eight of 15 pitches were strikes
RHP Ryota Igarashi: 1 IP, zeroes, 1 K, 2/0 GB/FB — nine of 13 pitches were strikes

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Mailbag: Jose Quintana

(Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

Travis asks: Why did the Yankees let Jose Quintana walk after 2011? He is having a nice year to date with the Chicago White Sox.

Quintana, 23, has pitched to a 1.53 ERA (3.18 FIP) in five starts and two relief appearances (35.1 IP) for the ChiSox this year after pitching to a 2.91 ERA (2.96 FIP) in 102 IP for High-A Tampa last season. As we learned last August, he started his career in the Mets’ farm system before being released — following a PED-related suspension — and hooking on with the Bombers. There’s a good chance the Yankees will get a look at him when the Sox come to town for four games late next week.

Joel Sherman wrote about Quintana today (great timing, eh?) and the team’s decision to let him leave as a minor league free agent after last season…

…the Yankees did not put Quintana on the 40-man roster, making him a free agent. GM Brian Cashman said they deliberated on the matter and, despite a dearth of quality lefties in the system, “We looked at him as a fringy prospect. We offered him a minor league contract to stay, but not a 40-man roster position. We didn’t feel he was ahead of other guys we gave spots to. It was a numbers game, but right now it does not look like a good decision.”

Quintana’s agent hunted around for a 40-man roster spot and found a taker in Chicago. Quintana made nine starts in Double-A before coming up for good when John Danks hit the disabled list. He’s excelled at limiting walks (1.53 BB/9 and 4.5 BB%) and homers (0.51 HR/9) but he hasn’t racked up many strikeouts (5.09 K/9 and 15.0 K%) or ground balls (40.4%). Quintana uses his upper-80s fastball and mid-80s slider heavily but will also mix in the occasional upper-70s curveball and on the rarest of occasions, a mid-80s changeup. Sherman spoke to a scout who had a little more to offer…

A scout for an NL team who saw two of his major league starts reported a good fastball that Quintana cuts and sinks, but worried there was no clear swing-and-miss pitch, and also that the southpaw had a bad pickoff move and was slow to the plate, making him susceptible to stolen bases.

It’s worth noting that White Sox pitching Don Cooper is the best in the business, with a long track record of turning mediocre arms into solid starting pitchers if not more. Guys like Esteban Loaiza, Gavin Floyd, and Phil Humber owe a great deal of their MLB success to Cooper. Who knows what he did with Quintana to lead to this success, if anything.

The Yankees protected two pitchers — David Phelps and D.J. Mitchell — from the Rule 5 Draft last offseason (as well as three position players) but they were still left with an open 40-man spot and theoretically had room for Quintana. Whether or not the southpaw’s success is sustainable given his lack of strikeouts and grounders — of if he’d even have this success without Cooper — is worth debating, but the obvious it would be nice if the Yankees had him in their farm system right now. They goofed, it happens.

2012 Draft: Yankees agree to sign 18th rounder Brady Lail

Via James Edward, the Yankees have agreed to sign 18th round pick Brady Lail for a $225k bonus plus another $135k in future college money. The two sides hammered out the deal at an Arizona steakhouse on Friday and the contract will become official tomorrow.

Lail, a high school right-hander from Utah, is a classic project arm at 6-foot-3 and 170 lbs. with a fastball that ranges anywhere from 86-94. He also throws a true knuckle-curve and the occasional changeup, but both pitches — as well as his command — need work. Here’s some video. Since Lail was drafted after the tenth round, $125k of his bonus will count against the draft pool. You can see all of the team’s draft picks at Baseball America and keep tabs on the draft pool situation with our 2012 Draft Pool page.

Ibanez & Chavez lead Yanks to comeback win over Mets


Source: FanGraphs

Things were looking pretty grim for the first six innings, but they sure turned around in a hurry. The Yankees are back into the win column after a quick little three-game losing streak and are 21-7 over the last month. That’s pretty great. Let’s recap…

  • Comeback: Chris Young and his 85 mph fastball shut the Yankees right down for the first six innings, but the third time through the order was a charm for the Bombers. Mark Teixeira opened the seventh with a walk before Nick Swisher blooped a Lucas Duda-aided double to right, bringing the tying run to the plate in the form of Raul Ibanez. He launched a line drive three-run homer to right, a rocket that snuck over the wall. The best part? The whole thing happened in the span of three pitches. Swisher’s double and Ibanez’s homer both came on the first pitch after ball four to Teixeira.
  • Zombie: With the score knotted at three, Joe Girardi went to his bench with the pitcher due up and watched Eric Chavez hit his first career pinch-hit homer two batters after Ibanez tied the game. It was the exact opposite of Raul’s — a big fly ball the other way that snuck inside the foul pole. The solo homer gave the Yankees the one-run lead they would never give back. Chavez has now hit five homers this season, the same number he hit from 2007-2011. Obviously he missed a bunch of time due to injury, but still amazing nonetheless.
  • Bullpen: Ivan Nova pitched well enough, not great, but the relief corps really slammed the door shut after he left the game with two outs in the sixth. Clay Rapada struck out the only man he faced to strand two runners in the sixth, Boone Logan struck out the two men he faced to strand a runner at third in the seventh, David Robertson struck out the side to strand a pair in the eighth, and Rafael Soriano struck out two in the ninth. Eight of the ten outs the bullpen recorded came on strike three, as did a season-high 15 of the 27 outs overall. The Mets went 1-for-14 with RISP because the Yankees’ hurlers wouldn’t even let them put the ball in play. Great job by these guys.
  • Leftovers: Both Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez booted routine ground balls, though Nova was able to pitch around the former … aside from that four-run seventh inning, the Yankees had just two other hits all night … the 1-5 hitters went a combined 1-for-17, with the one being a Jeter single to leadoff the game … the Yankees have hit five homers in the series and all five cleared the old dimensions at CitiField.

MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs the nerd score, and ESPN the updated standings. Since both the Orioles and Rays lost, the division lead is up to a season-high three games in the loss column. The rubber game of this three-game set is three things: 1) the final interleague game of the season, 2) the ESPN Sunday Night Game, and 3) perhaps the most interesting pitching matchup of the season (CC Sabathia vs. R.A. Dickey). That’s gonna be a blast. Make sure you check out RAB Tickets if you make a last-minute decision to catch the game.

Williams & Bichette keep hitting in Low-A loss

CF Slade Heathcott is done with his rehab and will join High-A Tampa in the next day or two according to his Twitter feed. I’m surprised he didn’t play even one game in the outfield in the GCL, but whatever. Hopefully he can stay healthy and finish the season strong.

As for the bad news, OF Cody Johnson was placed on the DL with “left hamstring tightness” yesterday, but apparently it’s severe enough that Double-A manager Tony Franklin described it as “the injury that’s going to derail his season.” No bueno.

Triple-A Empire State (8-3 loss to Indianapolis)
RF Kevin Russo: 1-4, 1 R, 2 K, 1 SB
2B Corban Joseph: 2-4, 1 K — had been in a 7-for-31 slump (.226)
LF Ronnie Mustelier & CF Colin Curtis: both 0-4, 1 K
DH Jack Cust: 1-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 K — second homer in his last four games
1B Russell Branyan: 0-2, 2 BB, 1 K — 23 walks and 20 strikeouts in 24 games
C Frankie Cervelli: 0-3, 1 R, 1 BB
3B Brandon Laird: 1-3, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K
SS Ramiro Pena: 1-3
RHP John Maine: 0.1 IP, 5 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, 1 HB, 1 E (pickoff) — half of his 34 pitches were strikes … I see walking papers in his future
RHP Nelson Figueroa: 4.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 3 K, 5/3 GB/FB — 52 of 85 pitches were strikes (61.2%)
RHP Manny Delcarmen: 2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 0 K, 3/2 GB/FB — 18 of 34 pitches were strikes (52.9%)
LHP Juan Cedeno: 1 IP, zeroes, 3/0 GB/FB — seven of 12 pitches were strikes

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Russell Martin leaves game with stiff back

Russell Martin left tonight’s game in the eighth inning with a stiff back. Dewayne Wise pinch-hit for him before Chris Stewart took over behind the plate. David Robertson was bouncing breaking balls all over the place in the eighth, but who knows if that caused/contributed to the problem. Martin was likely to get Sunday off anyway with CC Sabathia pitching, but we’ll see what they say. Check back for updates.