Afternoon links: Brackman, Ortiz, Prospects

Just a couple of links to get you jump-started this Sunday afternoon.

  • Frank Piliere has a full scouting report on Andrew Brackman. The velocity seems to be there, and Piliere thinks that it’s the command of his curveball that will make the difference for Brackman.
  • David Ortiz complains about the strike zone. Players who twice strike out looking tend to do that.
  • Joel Sherman muses on three youngsters who could help out next season: Eduardo Nunez, Brandon Laird, and Jesus Montero. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Nunez up in September. If they can muster a 40-man spot you might be able to say the same for Laird, who will have to hit the 40-man after the season anyway.
  • And finally, a little bit on Pedro Martinez, who won’t pitch this year. He thinks he has “a legit chance” at the Hall of Fame, which completely undersells his case. He’s a first balloter, no questions asked.

The Plan for Pettitte

As Andy Pettitte nears a return from a groin strain, the Yankees mapped out his rehab plan. The lefty will throw a full bullpen session tomorrow, and if he comes out of that feeling well, he’ll throw to live batters in a simulated game on either Thursday or Friday. The next step after that is a rehab start on either Monday or Tuesday, likely High-A Tampa or Double-A Trenton because Triple-A Scranton will be on the road on that point. Pettitte is hopeful he will only need one rehab start, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the team held him back for a second one if they have a decent enough lead in the division.

Yanks down Sox to widen AL East lead

Celebrating a win. Credit: AP Photo, Frank Franklin II

Despite two second-inning runs from the Red Sox, CC Sabathia and the Yankees cruised to an easy 5-2 win over Boston on Saturday evening. Filling in for the injured Alex Rodriguez, Ramiro Peña drove in two runs, and Curtis Granderson went 2 for 4 with a pair of runs scored. Sabathia pitched eight strong innings, and Mariano Rivera got the save. As the Rays lost to the Blue Jays 17-11, the Yanks’ AL East lead now stands at 1.5 games.

Things I Liked

Curtis Granderson was on base twice and scored twice. The biggest knock against Granderson this season is his .312 OBP. With a triple, he showed yesterday that he can hit for gap power, and with the stolen base, he showed that, if he can get on base, he can make something happen. He hasn’t done enough of either this year but has shown signs of snapping out of it.

As much as I criticize Ramiro Peña for waving a wet noodle at the plate, he got the job done twice on Saturday. He knocked in a run on a ground ball after Brett Gardner struck out with a runner on third and later singled with the infield in to extend the Yanks’ lead. He might be hitting .208 but has a respectable 13 RBI in 96 ABs.

CC Sabathia hadn’t given up a home run since June 3 when Victor Martinez took him deep to lead off the second inning. After back-to-back doubles made it 2-0 Boston, the big man seemed to be in trouble. He bore down though and stymied the Sox for seven more innings. He’s now 14-5 on the season and is every bit the stopper the Yankees had hoped he would be. This victory was the 150th of his career.

Things I Did Not Like

Brett Gardner is 1 for his last 22 with 10 strike outs. He’s gotten on base just three times in his last 24 plate appearances. Perhaps a day off would be in order.

Lance Berkman should take his frustration out on the baseball, not the Yanks’ All Star third baseman’s calf. X-Rays were negative, but A-Rod isn’t sure if he’ll be able to play on Sunday.

Box Score

Take a gander at the ESPN box. Get your info from Fangraphs.

Up Next

A.J. Burnett and Josh Beckett face off in a rematch of last year’s 15-inning classic at 8 p.m. on ESPN.

Montero homers in bullet-point DotF

Fangraphs/River Ave. Blues event + Yankees/Red Sox + beer = late and bullet-point DotF. Let’s hit up the highlights.

  • While the Yankees downed the Red Sox last night, Scranton beat the PawSox 6-1. Jesus Montero went 1 for 3 with a solo home run, a walk and a strike out. Juan Miranda chipped in a three-run shot. David Phelps went 6.2 innings for the win, and he gave up no runs on 5 hits and struck out 6.
  • Jenrry Mejia and the Binghamton Mets downed Trenton 5-1. Adam Warren struck out 8 in 5 innings but also gave up 5 runs — 4 earned — on 6 hits and a walk. No one did much of anything of note offensively.
  • Tampa beat St. Lucie 6-4 as Dellin Betances improved to 7-1. He didn’t have his best command last night, allowing 3 runs on 3 hits and 3 walks in 5 innings of work, but he struck out 5 as well.
  • Charleston played a pair yesterday against Savannah. They won the first game 7-0 as Sean Black through a seven-inning complete-game four-hitter. Slade Heathcott went 1 for 3 with a walk and a strike out. J.R. Murphy knocked in three with a triple. Savannah won the second game 4-1, and Heathcott went 0 for 2 with a pair of strike outs.
  • Staten Island lost to Williamsport 11-9.
  • The GCL Yanks dropped a 4-3 contest to the GCL Pirates. Cito Culver and Gary Sanchez went a combined 0-for-8 with 3 strike outs. The team made only three errors yesterday.

Saturday Night Open Thread

(AP Photo/Rob Carr)

No cheesy throw-away intro tonight. Here’s the open thread for the night, treat it as you see fit.

Game 109: Big Stoppa

(AP Photo/Jeff Zelevansky)

It’s no secret that the Yankees are stuck in a little bit of a rut right now. They’ve lost three of their last four games and four of their last six, but the good news is that they’re still atop the AL East, even if it’s just a half-game lead. It’s better than the alternative.

The good news is that the Yankees have their ace on the mound this afternoon, as CC Sabathia looks to get off his own personal schneid. He’s allowed 36 hits and 14 walks in four starts since the All Star break, spanning just 27 innings. For whatever reason he’s battled his command, but this is right around the same time that he hit his stride last year. Hopefully we’re in for an encore performance. He’ll be opposed by John Lackey, who thankfully does not throw a changeup. His swinging strike percentage (6.1%) is worse than Jamie Moyer’s (6.2%), believe it or not.

Here’s the starting nine…

Jeter, SS
Swisher, RF
Teixeira, 1B
Cano, 2B
Posada, C
Berkman, DH
Granderson, CF
Gardner, CF
Pena, 3B

And on the mound, it’s CC Sabathia.

Unfortunately this game will be airing on FOX, and I believe the Yankees’ record on FOX games is somewhere in the neighborhood of 0-1,569,485 through the years. Anyway, first pitch is set for a little after 4pm ET. Enjoy the game.

Vazquez suffering through dead-arm period

During his start last night against the Red Sox, Javier Vazquez raised some eyebrows when his first-inning fastballs were sitting at 81-85 miles per hour. Today, reports ESPN’s Andrew Marchand, the Yankees say Vazquez is suffering through a dead-arm period. Pitching coach Dave Eiland says the Yanks will curtail Vazquez’s work between starts, and the right-hander says he feels ok. Still, the Yanks noticed the big dip in velocity yesterday and will probably send Vazquez for more tests just to make sure nothing is wrong structurally.