Huuuuughes and Rauuuuul bury Mariners

Source: FanGraphs

At this point last week, the Yankees were in turmoil following Mariano Rivera‘s injury and four losses in five game. Now? Everything’s looking pretty great as they beat the Mariners for the second straight day on Saturday, their fifth win in the last six days. Let’s recap…

  • BABIPhil: Phil Hughes is a fly ball pitcher, and fly ball pitchers give up homeruns but fewer hits in general. Hughes surrendered one homer on Saturday — a moonshot by Mike Carp — but just five other hits (all singles) in 7.2 IP. He struck out four and recorded 13 of his other 19 outs on fly balls, walking just one. Fly balls can be problematic at Yankee Stadium, but they also help keep runners off base and that’s exactly what Hughes did in his second straight strong start. He’s gotten progressively in each of his last three starts, so let’s hope this little run continues.
  • Two Outs: Hector Noesi retired five of the first six Yankees he faced with relative ease and appeared poised to strand Mark Teixeira at second base in the second, but he just couldn’t get that final out of the inning. Raul Ibanez doubled to score Tex, Russell Martin doubled to score Ibanez, and Jayson Nix homered (a Yankee Stadium cheapie, for sure) to drive in Martin and himself. Two outs, three extra-base hits, four runs. It was all the Yankees would need on the afternoon, really.
  • Rauuul: Because the RBI double wasn’t enough, Ibanez tacked on a solo homer in the fourth inning, a legit blast that landed in Monument Park about 420 feet from home plate. It was his second homer in as many days and fourth in five games. Raul’s become the 2012 version of 2010 Marcus Thames, hitting big homers and driving in a ton of runs despite the lowest of expectations. Go him.
  • Relief: Boone Logan picked up the save, becoming the four different Yankee to record the team’s last four saves. All four of his outs came via the strikeout, but I have to think he’ll get tomorrow off given his recent workload. Logan nearly gave up Carp’s second homer, but it hit off the very top of the wall and replays confirmed it stayed in the park. Either way, Boone’s been absolutely money lately.
  • Leftovers: Derek Jeter had two hits and Robinson Cano extended his hit streak to ten games … Curtis Granderson and Alex Rodriguez each went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts, the eyesores in an otherwise strong offensive day … the Yankees didn’t draw a single walk, continuing a recent trend of impatience at the plate. I think part of that has to do with the recent competition, including Jamie Shields, David Price, and Felix Hernandez. has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs the nerd score, and ESPN the updated standings. The Yankees will look to complete the sweep tomorrow when Andy Pettitte (!) makes his triumphant return to the team. That will be a blast, but alas I will be unable to watch. Blame Mother’s Day. That game starts at 1pm ET, and Seattle is sending Kevin Millwood to the mound. If you hurry, RAB Tickets can help get you in the door.

Gumbs leads the way in Charleston blowout win

If you’re wondering what Jorge Vazquez is up to, Mike Ashmore points out that he’s back playing in the Mexican League this summer. He’s hitting .273/.344/.473 with three homers in 15 games for Tigres de Quintana Roo after the Yankees released him at the end of camp. It wasn’t much of a secret that JoVa was getting tired of playing in Triple-A, but apparently none of the other 29 clubs were willing to give him a shot.

Triple-A Empire State (3-2 win over Durham, walk-off style)
2B Kevin Russo: 1-5, 1 R, 1 SB
LF Colin Curtis: 1-4, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K — walk-off single
1B Steve Pearce: 1-3, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K — has replaced JoVa and then some
DH Jack Cust & CF Ronnie Mustelier: both 0-4 — Cust struck out twice … Mustelier played center, eh? interesting
3B Brandon Laird & C Frankie Cervelli: both 1-4 — Laird doubled

RF Cole Garner: 0-4, 1 K
SS Yadil Mujica: 2-4, 1 2B
RHP Nelson Figueroa: 6 IP, 9 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 8/2 GB/FB — 62 of 91 pitches were strikes (68.1%)
LHP Juan Cedeno: 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 2/0 GB/FB — 20 of 35 pitches were strikes (57.1%)
RHP Kevin Whelan: 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 3/0 GB/FB — 16 of 22 pitches were strikes (72.7%)

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Saturday Night Open Thread

(REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine)

This is the perfect time of year. The weather’s great — not too cold and not disgustingly humid NYC summer yet — and right about now is when the Yankees usually start to go on a bit of a roll. They’ve now won five of six following this afternoon’s beatdown of the Mariners, and they were just one bad David Robertson inning away from six wins in a row. Since Mariano Rivera‘s injury, they’ve won six of nine. It’s an unfortunate reference point, but wins are wins.

Anyway, here is tonight’s open thread. MLB Network is airing a game (teams depend on where you live), but the biggest game of the night is Game Seven between the NY Rangers and the Capitals at the Garden (7:30pm ET on NBC Sports Network). Winner of that game will play the Devils in the Eastern Conference Finals. Talk about that or whatever else you want here.

Yankees claim Justin Thomas off waivers from Red Sox

Via Maureen Mullen, the Yankees have claimed lefty reliever Justin Thomas off waivers from the Red Sox. Not sure what the corresponding 40-man roster move is, but the Yanks have a ton of 60-day DL candidates so that’s not an issue.

Thomas, 28, has a minor league option left, so I’m assuming he’ll head to Triple-A. He pitched to a 7.71 ERA (3.17 FIP) in seven appearances (4.2 IP) with Boston, allowing two singles and a double to the 12 left-handed batters he’d faced. Thomas has pitched for the Mariners and Pirates in the past, but given how terrible the Sox’s bullpen is, I wouldn’t expect much if they cut him loose.

Update: Just for the sake of completeness, the Yankees have transferred Austin Romine to the 60-day DL to clear a 40-man spot for Thomas.

Game 33: An Old Friend

(AP Photo/John Froschauer)

Hector Noesi seems to be the forgotten man in the Jesus MonteroMichael Pineda trade. He was slated to be the team’s sixth starter before being dealt away, but Brian Cashman was emphatic in saying that Noesi would work as a starting pitcher in Triple-A instead of serving as the long-man again. I guess that means David Phelps would have still made the Opening Day roster but not gotten starts when Freddy Garcia had to be removed from the rotation. Who knows. Anyway, here’s the starting nine…

DH Derek Jeter
CF Curtis Granderson
3B Alex Rodriguez
2B Robinson Cano
1B Mark Teixeira
RF Nick Swisher
LF Raul Ibanez
Russell Martin
SS Jayson Nix — might as well see what he can do at short

RHP Phil Hughes

Today’s game is scheduled to start a little after 4pm ET and can be seen on YES. Their will be a pre-game ceremony for Yogi Berra’s 87th birthday on the field, so make sure you tune in for that. Enjoy.

Pitching Update: As expected, David Phelps is moving back into the bullpen and will be available tomorrow after starting on Tuesday. Andy Pettitte will take Phelps’ rotation spot. Have to figure Cody Eppley will be sent to Triple-A to accommodate Andy tomorrow.

2012 Draft: Baseball America’s Mock Draft v1.0

Baseball America posted their first mock draft of the spring on Thursday, and they have the Astros taking Stanford RHP Mark Appel first overall. Georgia high school outfielder Byron Buxton is the consensus top prospect in the draft, but BA can be a little stubborn when it comes to sticking with their preseason rankings (see Alvarez, Pedro). You don’t need a subscription to read the article, it’s free.

The Yankees took Louisiana high school catcher Stryker Trahan with their first rounder (#30 overall) in the mock. “He’s a physical, athletic masher who will need time to develop behind the plate,” said the write-up. Trahan has a little J.R. Murphy in him in the sense that his bat is his best tool and he’s athletic enough to play other positions on the field. He’s a left-handed hitter though, Murphy’s a righty. For what it’s worth, Keith Law ranked Trahan as the 24th best prospect in the draft in his last rankings.

Cashman: No extension talks or search for bullpen help ongoing

Via A.J. Perez, GM Brian Cashman confirmed that the Yankees are not currently negotiating a contract extension with any players, including Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano. That’s not terribly surprising; the team’s policy is to wait until current contracts expire before discussing new deals, and those two are under club control (via option years) next season. Russell Martin and Nick Swisher are the other notable extension candidates and are both due to become a free agent this winter.

Cashman also confirmed that they’re not seeking for bullpen help at the moment, something we first learned last weekend. “I’m not out there looking for relievers,” he said. The Yankees have plenty of internal options to try out in the wake of Mariano Rivera‘s injury before diving into the trade market, but dealing for a reliever at the deadline shouldn’t be out of the question.