Sabathia strikes out 13 as Yanks complete sweep

There are times in this game when you don’t have to do anything more than sit back and enjoy it No stress, no concern about who is and who isn’t hitting, no looking ahead to bullpen machinations, nothing like that. Thursday afternoon’s series finale against the Brewers was one of those games, and all because of the guy on the bump.

I think we know to answer to the question in the scouting report.

The Big Man’s Big Day

We’ve seen CC Sabathia do some great things on the mound over the last two and half years, but we’ve never seen him do what he did in this game. Sabathia tied a career high with 13 strikeouts, topping his previous high in pinstripes by three. It was the first time a Yankees’ pitcher struck out 13 batters in a game since Roger Clemens in 2002, and it was the most strikeouts by a Yankees’ lefty since David Wells in 1998. All 13 strike threes were swinging, part of a season high 22 swings and misses generated by Sabathia. Seven of those strikeouts came on sliders. Over his last two starts, CC has struck out 22 and walked just three in 15.2 IP.

Only one Brewer managed to make it as far as third base against the Yankees ace, who retired 16 of the last 19 batters he faced. Carlos Gomez, Prince Fielder, Corey Hart, Mat Gamel, and George Kottaras each whiffed twice while Rickie Weeks wore the sombrero with three strikeouts. Sabathia raised his season strikeout rate from 6.6 to 7.4 K/9 in his last two starts and from 6.9 to 7.4 in this game alone. By my calculation, he went from a 2.81 FIP and 3.4 WAR to 2.66 and 4.0 with this start, respectively. Bravo CC, bravo.

Hopefully there are many more to come.

Number 300

Oh by the way, Mark Teixeira hit his 300th career homerun in this game, a quiet milestone. Easy to overlook that given Sabathia’s effort. The milestone blast came in the third inning, a leadoff shot off a Randy Wolf fastball in a 2-1 count. Security retrieved the ball, and in exchange Tex will have to give the guy who caught it a signed bat, a signed ball, and take a picture with him during batting practice at some point in the future. Not a bad haul.

The homer gave the Yankees a cushy three run lead, and just about a third of those 300 homers have come in pinstripes (97 to be exact). Teixeira currently leads the majors with 25 homers, and he’s just the eighth switch-hitter to go deep 300 times in his career. That’s not a bad group to be in, with guys like Mickey Mantle, Lance Berkman, and Chipper Jones.

What, no stat for whether or not the game was managable? (Photo via Ben Kabak)

Leftovers

The Yankees took the lead right in the very first inning, when Robinson Cano laced an opposite field double to drive in both Brett Gardner and Nick Swisher. Those two had walked to lead off the inning. Frankie Cervelli drove in a run with a bloop single in the third to make it four-zip, then they tacked on a garbage time run in the eighth. Frankie had three hits on the day, the only Yankee with more than one. Swisher and Andruw Jones each had a single and walk, Gardner just a walk. The Yankees stole three bases before Wolf recorded an out (Gardner stole second after the walk, then he and Swisher pulled off a double steal). Overall, it was a fine day for the offense.

Back when John Axford was bouncing between four levels in the Yankees farm system back in 2007, we (ahem) all knew that he’d one day pitch in Yankee Stadium. Today was that day. Milwaukee had to bring their closer into the game in the eighth inning just to get him some work in, which is one of my favorite things to watch. It’s always good when the other team can’t use their ninth inning guy until garbage time in the final game of a series. Axford allowed a run in his inning of work.

Boone Logan struck out Prince to end the eighth, though it wasn’t the prettiest at-bat. Fielder crushed several balls foul before Logan tied him up with a fastball inside. Luis Ayala got three ground balls on eight pitches in a flawless ninth inning.

The win gave the Yankees the sweep over the Brewers, their sixth consecutive series win and ninth in their last ten series. It was also their fifth win a row, a new season high. They’ve won nine of their last 11 games, 12 of their last 15, and 15 of their last 19. Since that six game losing streak in mid-May, the Yankees are 27-12, the best record in baseball. Yippee.

WPA Graph & Box Score

MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs the other stuff.

Up Next

Wooo Subway Series! The Yankees and Mets get together for the second and (thankfully) final engagement of the 2011 Subway Series on Friday night at CitiField. Ivan Nova will get the party started against Jonathan Niese. RAB Tickets can get you there dirt cheap.

Montero homers, but boredom leads to SWB loss

Jorge Vazquez, Kevin Whelan, and Jesus Montero will represent Triple-A Scranton on the International League All-Star Team. Montero was named to the team, the other two guys (who are currently on the disabled list) were voted on.

Triple-A Scranton (7-3 loss to Norfolk)
Greg Golson, CF & Jordan Parraz, RF: both 0 for 4 – Parraz whiffed twice
Doug Bernier, SS & Luis Nunez, 2B: both 0 for 2 – Bernier walked, struck out, and got picked off first
Jesus Montero, DH: 2 for 4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI – another opposite field homer to right, and he hit three balls hard
Mike Lamb, 1B: 2 for 3, 2 R, 1 3B, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB – now that’s a game
Brandon Laird, 3B: 1 for 4, 1 RBI
Gus Molina, C: 1 for 3
Austin Krum, LF: 0 for 3
Adam Warren, RHP: 5 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, 1 HB, 6-4 GB/FB – 58 of 94 pitches were strikes (61.7%) … first clunker in a while, and this really isn’t that bad anyway
Andrew Brackman, RHP: 2 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 2 WP, 1 HB – 25 of 41 pitches were strikes (61%) … typical Brackman, but at least he hit 93
Logan Kensing, RHP: 1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 1-0 GB/FB – 11 of 17 pitches were strikes (64.7%)

[Read more…]

Yankees will open Marlins new stadium next year (sorta)

Via Joe Capozzi, the Yankees will play an exhibition game against the Marlins in their new stadium at the end of Spring Training next year. The new park will officially open a few days later when the Fish taken on the Cardinals in a rare one-game series. As far as I know they haven’t sold the naming rights to the place yet, but you can see some renderings and construction photos here. As for the Yankees, I guess all you can say is “cool.” That should be fun to watch.

Open Thread: CC gets the KKKKKKKKKKKKK’s

(Photo Credit: Flickr user Geoff Livingston via Creative Commons license)

I don’t want to spoil the game recap too much, but all you need to know is that CC Sabathia was the man today. He struck out 13 Brewers, tying a career high and setting a new high as a Yankees. All 13 of those whiffs were swinging. Milwaukee had no chance, the big man was on his game this afternoon.

Anyways, here is tonight’s open thread. The MLB Network will carry a game (teams depend on where you live), plus you could always watch a replay of the Yanks’ game on YES. Talk about whatever you want here, go nuts.

Jeter on pace to rejoin team on Monday

Via Brian Costello, Derek Jeter ramped up his rehab work in Tampa today and is expected to begin a two game rehab assignment with Double-A Trenton this weekend. He would then rejoin the team on Monday in Cleveland. “I feel good now,” said the Cap’n. “I feel a lot better. I’m ready to get out of here.” Jeter has been running the bases and taking batting practice all week. Trenton is home this weekend, so if you want to head to either or both games, you can get tickets here.

Colon to start Saturday

Joe Girardi announced after this afternoon’s game that Bartolo Colon will indeed start Saturday afternoon’s game against the Mets. Apparently he came through whatever drills they put him through well  enough to pitch. Brian Gordon will presumably shift into a long relief role, and hopefully this means Hector Noesi will go back to Triple-A to work as a starter. Hooray for having Bart back.

Link Dump: Robertson, Joba, All-Star Voting

The Yankees are still playing the Brewers, but here are some links for those of you that can’t watch the game…

(Photo Credit: Flickr user EDorf81 via Creative Commons license)

David Robertson, Life Saver (Not Literally)

The Yankees bullpen was supposed to be a strength coming into the season, and it has been for the most part. Just not the way we expected. Rafael Soriano and Joba Chamberlain went down long-term elbow injuries, forcing David Robertson to step up his game and bridge the gap between starter and Mariano Rivera. His performance (1.58 FIP and 1.4 fWAR, third highest among all relievers) earned him a spot on Jerry Crasnick’s list of life savers, which focuses on players who thrived after injuries forced them into more prominent roles. “He’s always had that great curveball,” said a scout that Crasnick spoke too. “And [Joe Girardi] really likes him and trusts him.” Well, duh.

Joba Documents Life After Tommy John Surgery

If you follow Joba on Twitter, then you’re already aware that he’s been posting near-daily updates of his status following his Tommy John surgery, and Marc Carig asked him why. “I’ll document good days and bad days when we really start getting after it,” said Joba yesterday. “It’s good. It obviously gives you a non-baseball outlet. A lot of people don’t know really what Tommy John is, and the process. They’re basically going through the process with me. I appreciate all the support that they have given me. I think it’s fun for them to see what’s happening.”

Joba posted some gnarly photos of his scars after the surgery, and continues to write about how he’s feeling and how the latest doctor appointment went. I’ve been following along and I think it’s a pretty cool way for him to not only keep everyone updated about how he’s doing, but also interact with readers. Rehab from TJS is no joke, but now we’ll get a closer look at it then every before.

All-Star Game Voting Ends Tonight

Fan voting for the 2011 All-Star Game ends at midnight, so make sure you head over and stuff the ballots while you still can. Five Yankees are in line to start the game at the moment: Russell Martin, Robinson Cano, Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, and Curtis Granderson. Mark Teixeira is about a million voted behind Adrian Gonzalez at first base, and both Nick Swisher and Brett Gardner are about a million and a half votes out of an outfield spot. I haven’t voted yet myself, but if I do, here’s my ballot…

AL: Alex Avila, Adrian, Howie Kendrick, Asdrubal Cabrera, A-Rod, Granderson, Bautista, Carlos Quentin, David Ortiz

NL: Brian McCann, Prince Fielder, Rickie Weeks, Jose Reyes, Placido Polanco, Matt Kemp, Andrew McCutchen, Ryan Braun