CC battles through eight in win over ChiSox

This game was dangerously close for far too long. The Yankees jumped out to quick 2-0 lead then tacked on another run, but the White Sox scored two and seemed to have a runner or two in scoring position with less than two outs all game long. But hey, a win’s a win…

  • CC Sabathia really, and I mean really had to grind this one out. He didn’t have his good slider and didn’t have much command of his changeup, which is why he allowed ten hits to one of the weaker offenses in baseball. Alexei Ramirez touched him up for a two-run homer in fourth, but double plays helped him escape the second, third, and fifth innings. Adam Dunn, who went from awesome to embarrassingly bad in one winter, struck out to end rallies in the sixth and eighth. Sabathia only threw 104 pitches but they were 104 tough pitches, it’s pretty impressive he completed eight full innings.
  • The Yankees had a run just seven pitches into the game. Brett Gardner started the game off with an infield single (stop sliding into first, kthxbye) and came around to score on Curtis Granderson‘s single. Grandy scored two batters later when Robinson Cano singled him, then scored two innings later on Cano’s double play. It looked like the Yanks were on their way to another blowout win, but Jake Peavy settled down and allowed just three of the final 16 men he faced to reach base.
  • Granderson and Mark Teixeira were the only batters in the lineup with multiple hits, though Gardner (single), Cano (single), Eric Chavez (single), Jorge Posada (single), Andruw Jones (pinch-walk), and Eduardo Nunez (walk) all reached once. Nick Swisher and Frankie Cervelli combined for a particularly ugly 0-for-7 with two whiffs each. Just one of the final 14 men they sent to the plate reached base, and that was Andruw’s pinch-walk.
  • How awful does Dunn look? As if the 0-for-4 with three strikeouts wasn’t bad enough, he also misplayed a ball in the first and let another one that he should have handled get past him. He has three hits against left-handed pitchers this year (three!!!), the same number as the lefty hacking Clayton Kershaw. The boos were quite loud, and I can’t imagine he’s anything but miserable. As for Peavy, his stuff clearly isn’t what it was in San Diego. I watched him quite a bit with the Padres, and the life just isn’t there anymore. His fastball used to run all over the place in the mid-90’s, now it just kinda wiggles in their right at 90. For shame. He did a fine job in this game though, obviously.
  • Mariano Rivera slammed the door in the ninth with nine pitches, all strikes. Here’s the box score, here’s the nerd stats, here’s the standings.

Game two of this four-game set will be played Tuesday evening, when Phil Hughes could be pitching for his job against John Danks. Full-blown recaps will return then, it’s been a hectic few days.

Sanchez homers in Charleston win

Jorge Vazquez was named the Triple-A International League Offensive Player of the Week while Preston Claiborne was dubbed the High-A Florida State League Pitcher of the Week. Randy Flores, meanwhile, will be released tomorrow.

Triple-A Scranton Game One (4-2 loss to Lehigh Valley) makeup of a May 19th rain out
Kevin Russo, 2B & Mike Lamb, DH: both 2 for 4, 1 R – Russo doubled … Lamb whiffed
Greg Golson, CF, Jorge Vazquez, 1B & Brandon Laird, 3B: all 0 for 3 – Golson walked and whiffed twice … JoVa and Laird struck out once … Vazquez also committed a fielding error
Jesus Montero, C: 1 for 4, 1 RBI – the RBI single came off a rehabbing big leaguer, a brand name
Jordan Parraz, RF: 0 for 2, 1 BB, 1 K
Austin Krum, LF & Doug Bernier, SS: both 1 for 3 – Krum drove in a run
Pants Lendleton, RHP: 5.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 1-8 GB/FB – 45 of 76 pitches were strikes (59.2%)
Kevin Whelan, RHP: 1.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 1 HBP, 1-3 GB/FB – 13 of 20 pitches were strikes (65%)
Randy Flores, LHP: 1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 1-2 GB/FB – 16 of 28 pitches were strikes (57.1%)

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Yankees will release Randy Flores tomorrow

Via Danny Knobler, the Yankees will release lefty Randy Flores tomorrow by mutual consent. He signed a minor league contract in May, but was pretty bad with Triple-A Scranton and didn’t get a chance to show what he’s got with the big league team. Left-handed batters hit .259 with 14 hits in as many innings off Flores coming into today, and tonight he gave up a two-run bomb to lose the game.

A-Rod will begin baseball activities on Thursday

Via Chad Jennings, Alex Rodriguez will head to Tampa on Wednesday and begin baseball activities on Thursday as he rehabs from last month’s knee surgery. The Yankees don’t have (or haven’t announced) a firm date for his return yet, but that’s not a surprise since this will be his first time back out on the field. It goes without saying that he’ll need some kind of rehab assignment

Game 107: Captainless

(Photo Credit: Flickr user Jay?? via Creative Commons license)

Derek Jeter is not playing tonight after two straight finger-damaging days. Saturday he took a ground ball off his right middle finger, and yesterday Jake Arrieta got him in the same digit with a fastball. Thankfully x-rays came back negative and it’s just a bruise, but count on the Cap’n being out of the lineup for at least one night and maybe more.

That’s bad because the roster is already stretched thin. The Yankees are carrying 13 pitchers and just three bench players, none of whom can really play the middle infield. Eduardo Nunez will play short in Jeter’s absence, which means Eric Chavez will be the regular third baseman for the time being. The more he plays, the more likely he is to get hurt. There’s no backup shortstop, and the backup second baseman is Frankie Cervelli. I’m sure Jeter could play in an absolute emergency, but let’s hope it doesn’t come to that. Here’s the starting nine…

Brett Gardner, LF
Curtis Granderson, CF
Mark Teixeira, 1B
Robinson Cano, 2B
Nick Swisher, RF
Eric Chavez, 3B
Jorge Posada, DH
Eduardo Nunez, SS
Frankie Cervelli, C

CC Sabathia, SP

It’s an 8:10pm ET start, and YES will carry the game for ya. Enjoy.

Rosenthal: Ownership pushed for Wandy

Via Ken Rosenthal, the Yankees push to acquire Astros southpaw Wandy Rodriguez before yesterday’s trade deadline came from ownership and not Brian Cashman. The Yankees were willing to pay $21M of the $38M left on the southpaw’s deal, but Houston was only willing to pay the $2M he’s owed through the rest of the season plus another $5M if his 2014 player option was picked up. Ultimately, the two sides never got to the point of exchanging offers.

Meanwhile, a rival GM told Rosenthal that Cashman had seven untouchables. I’m guessing Jesus Montero, Dellin Betances, Manny Banuelos, Ivan Nova, Austin Romine, Brett Gardner, and … who’s the seventh? Obviously not Phil Hughes if they offered him Ubaldo Jimenez. Could it have been David Robertson?

Series Preview: Chicago White Sox

(Photo Credit: Flickr user EdKopp4 via Creative Commons license)

The homestand is over, and the Yankees are heading to Chicago’s south side to play a team with a losing record at home. The White Sox did split a four-game series in the Bronx earlier this year, two of their three wins during a 17-game stretch extending from mid-April to early-May. Weird stuff tends to happen to the Yankees at U.S. Cellular Field, there seems to be an inordinate amount of infield hits and great defensive plays and what not, but I’m sure that’s just a coincidence.

What Have The White Sox Done Lately?

The ChiSox are trying to stay relevant in the AL Central race (they’re three back in the loss column), but two straight losses to the Red Sox hurt their cause. Ozzie Guillen’s team had won five of six before Boston took the last two, and overall they’re 7-6 since the All-Star break. The White Sox are 52-54 with a -7 run differential this year, about as close to a .500 true talent team as it gets.

White Sox On Offense

Didn't recognize him without the goatee. (Photo Credit: Flickr user Keith Allison via Creative Commons license)

The Yankees might catch a little bit of a break right off the bat; Paul Konerko is not expected to play in the series opener tonight because of a bruised calf (UPDATE: Konerko is not in tonight’s lineup). Andrew Miller hit him with a pitch yesterday and he’s day-to-day after x-rays came back negative. Konerko is the ChiSox’s best hitter and it’s not particularly close, a .305/.385/.550 monster with the sixth most homeruns in baseball (25). That a significant right-handed batter to lose on the night CC Sabathia starting.

Stepping at first base will likely be Adam Dunn, the most disappointing disappointment to ever disappoint. He’s hitting .165/.298/.303 on the season after signing a four-year, $56M contract last winter, and just .041/.220/.041 against southpaws. Don’t be surprised if he sits tonight. If he does, Brent Lillibridge (yes, that Brent Lillibridge) would likely give it a go at first. He’s hitting .250/.336/.461 in part-time duty. Carlos Quentin is the only other player on the team producing at an above-average rate, a .261/.350/.501 hitter that’s already part of the rare 20/20/20 club. That’s 20 homers, 20 doubles, and 20 hit-by-pitches.

Alexei Ramirez is at .269/.333/.397 and A.J. Pierzynski at .283/.327/.386, the only other two guys in the lineup above a 90 OPS+. Gordon Beckham is a(nother) rushed prospect that has disappointed (.248/.307/.357), Juan Pierre is just bad (.275/.330/.324), and rookie Brent Morel has been overmatched (.253/.271/.305). Alex Rios has been so bad (.207/.253/.296) that he’s losing playing time to Alejandro De Aza (eight at-bats so far, and the only time he’s reached base was on a homer). Omar Vizquel does nothing off the bench (.263/.291/.316), and quality backup catcher Ramon Castro (.235/.307/.456) is injured. The White Sox have the tenth worst wOBA in baseball (.308), so losing Konerko for even a day is a killer.

White Sox On The Mound

Monday, RHP Jake Peavy (vs. CC Sabathia): It’s a matchup of 2007 Cy Young Award winners. Sabathia out-bWAR’d Peavy 6.8 to 6.2 that year, and he’s massively outperformed him since. That mostly due to Peavy’s injuries (ankle, elbow, shoulder), which have cost him more than a full season’s worth of playing time. The now 30-year-old righty has made seven starts since his latest DL stint, putting 60 runners on base in 37.2 IP (5.73 ERA, ~3.00 FIP thanks to a miniscule homer rate). Peavy’s fastball(s) still sit in the low-90’s but are trending downward with the injuries, though it’s always been about life and movement for him. His heater runs all over the place, and it still does. A changeup and slider are his two secondary pitches, and he’ll also mix in a curve. He’s not the same guy he was when he won the Cy, but he’s still quite good.

Tuesday, LHP John Danks (vs. Phil Hughes): Luckily Joe told you everything you need to know about Danks less than two weeks, so I’ll just refer you to that. In two starts since coming back from his oblique injury, Danks has allowed one run in 13 IP, striking out 16 and walking four.

(Photo Credit: Flickr user Keith Allison via Creative Commons license)

Wednesday, RHP Gavin Floyd (vs. A.J. Burnett): Mark Teixeira‘s neighbor growing up, Floyd has allowed just two earned runs across 22.1 IP in three starts since the All-Star break, taking his season ERA down from 4.59 to 3.96. He’s a low-90’s four-seamer/mid-80’s cutter guy, missing bats with a high-70’s curveball that’s among the best in baseball. Floyd doesn’t have much of a changeup and struggles against lefties because of it. He beat the Yankees already once this year (8 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 10 K) and has traditionally been tough against them, but it’s a five start (and one relief appearance) sample.

Thursday, RHP Phil Humber (vs. Ivan Nova/Bartolo Colon): So it turns out that Humber doesn’t suck. Yankees’ fans were irate after Humber shut them down back in April (7 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 5 K), but he shut everyone else down in the first half and carried a sub-3.00 ERA into July. The second half has not been kind to Humber though, he’s put 28 men on base in 14 IP, allowing at least four runs in all three starts. We’ve heard all about his new cutter and how it’s helped him resurrect his career, but PitchFX hasn’t been able to pick the pitch and says he’s thrown zero this year. Maybe the break is so subtle that it’s registering as a four-seamer. Anyway, Humber uses his low-90’s heat and high-70’s curve two-thirds of the time, filling in the gaps with a pair of low-80’s offerings: a slider and changeup. I feel confident in saying he won’t one-hit the Yankees for seven innings again).

The Yankees, meanwhile, have announced that Colon with start Thursday’s game, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they started Nova instead. That would allow them to start Bartolo in Fenway against the Red Sox on Friday. (UPDATE: Yep, the Yankees just announced that it’s Nova on Thursday, Colon on Friday)

Bullpen: It took some time to figure out the ninth inning, but former infielder Sergio Santos is the undisputed closer now. He actually got his first two saves of the season against the Yankees in April. He’s a strikeout machine (11.71 K/9) but will walk himself in trouble (4.37 BB/9). Hard-throwing southpaw Matt Thornton wasn’t traded before yesterday’s deadline, and he’s got a 9.00 K/9 and 3.75 BB/9. Those numbers are actually bad for him compared to the last few years, when he was routinely north of 12 K/9 and under 3 BB/9. Lefties are also hitting him far better than they should be.

New import Jason Frasor (3.63 FIP) just came over in the Edwin Jackson-Colby Rasmus three-team deal, and high-price import Jesse Crain (3.34 FIP) as been solid in setup work. Former Yankee Brian Bruney has been terrible (5.84 FIP) in limited action, and he was hung out to dry for 58 pitches on Saturday. We might not see him until tomorrow at the earliest. Lefty Will Ohman is the quintessential LOOGY with a big platoon split, though fellow lefty Chris Sale (3.25 FIP) is slightly better against righties. It’s a solid bullpen but not an unbeatable one, especially now that Thornton has returned to mortality.

Recommended White Sox Reading: South Side Sox. Here’s some ticket pricing info if you happen to be in Chicago this week and watch to catch a game or four. RAB Tickets can help you get in for cheap.