Yankees top Athletics behind Nova and homers

Source: FanGraphs

The winning streak has reached three games, believe it or not. Given how terrible the Yankees looked at this time last week, I’ll take it. I don’t care how bad the opposing teams are. Let’s recap…

  • Quality Start: Ivan Nova pitched well but he’s still not right, at least not when compared to the guy he was down the stretch last year. Maybe we should stop holding him to that standard. Nova allowed three runs — two on solo homers — in seven innings, striking out four and walking one. He still tends to miss his spot by a not small margin and quite frankly, Ivan’s got a little A.J. Burnett in him right now. That said, I’ll obviously take three runs in seven innings all season long.
  • Dingers: Although the first run of the game came when Coco Crisp over-ran a Robinson Cano line drive, the Yankees did most of their damage with the long ball. Mark Teixeira launched a two-run shot to right in the third inning, Cano led off the fifth with a rocket to center, and Nick Swisher drove in a pair with an opposite field shot a few batters later. Teixeira’s ball had the most height but Cano’s shot was the most impressive, out to dead center on a line.
  • More Offense: Two Yankees went hitless on the night (Derek Jeter and Eric Chavez) while five had two hits apiece (Curtis Granderson, Alex Rodriguez, Teixeira, Raul Ibanez, and Swisher). Chavez did draw a walk however, as did Granderson and Russell Martin. It’s probably worth noting that Teixeira doubled but was thrown out trying to stretch it into a triple. He now has 12 hits (four doubles, two homer) and five walks in his last 47 plate appearances to raise his season line to .231/.294/.406. That still stinks, but it’s better than the .212/.269/.364 line he had before this little hot streak.
  • Leftovers: Left-handed batters vs. A’s starter Tyson Ross: 9-for-15 with three doubles, three homers, and two walks … Granderson had a pair of opposite field singles, only his sixth and seventh hits to left field this year … A-Rod stole his team-leading sixth base after swiping just eight in the last two years combined … Boone Logan (one strikeout) and Rafael Soriano (two strikeouts and one double allowed) threw scoreless eighth and ninth innings, respectively … Oakland’s bullpen retired 14 of 16 batters faced … Ibanez was left in to face a lefty in the late innings yet again … Chavez heard some boos, which is incredibly weak on the part of the A’s fans.

MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs the nerd score, and ESPN the updated standings. About 700 lbs. worth of pitcher meet tomorrow when CC Sabathia and Bartolo Colon give it a go in game two of this three-game weekend set on Saturday afternoon.

Murphy picks up five hits in Tampa win

Make sure you scroll down for tonight’s game thread.

Remember RHP Jairo Heredia? He started the season on the DL with “something internal” but resumed throwing earlier this week. Heredia is one of the most enigmatic pitchers in the system, dominating for weeks at a time before forgetting how to record outs. He could be ticketed for Double-A Trenton once healthy.

In other injury news, RHP Diego Moreno had Tommy John surgery. He’s one of the two players the Yankees received from the Pirates in the A.J. Burnett trade. The other player, OF Exicardo Cayones, is in Extended Spring Training. Neither player is much of a prospect, but Moreno throws hard and has a non-zero chance of helping out of the bullpen at some point.

Anyway, if you’re unfamiliar with minor league baseball in general, friend of the blog @leokitty put together a pretty great primer for you. Make sure you check it out even if you know your way around the bush leagues.

Triple-A Empire State (8-7 win over Buffalo in ten innings, walk-off style)
CF Kevin Russo: 1-4, 1 R, 1 RBI, 2 K, 1 E (fielding)
2B Matt Antonelli: 1-4, 2 R, 1 BB, 1 E (fielding)
3B Steve Pearce: 0-5, 1 K, 1 E (throwing) — only his third game at third base this year
DH Jack Cust: 3-5, 1 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 K — walk-off homer
LF Ronnie Mustelier: 1-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 K — his two-run homer in the seventh tied the game
1B Brandon Laird: 0-4, 1 E (fielding)
C Frankie Cervelli: 2-4, 2 R, 1 K — eight hits in his last 22 at-bats (.364)
RF Cole Garner: 2-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI
SS Ramiro Pena: 0-3, 1 RBI, 2 K
RHP Dellin Betances: 2 IP, 2 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 2 K, 1 WP, 1 HB, 1 Balk, 1/1 GB/FB — 31 of 65 pitches were strikes (47.7%) … 42 walks and 41 strikeouts in 46.2 IP
LHP Mike O’Connor: 2.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 0 K, 5/4 GB/FB — 31 of 59 pitches were strikes (52.5%)
RHP Chase Whitley: 2.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 4/0 GB/FB — 25 of 40 pitches were strikes (62.5%)
RHP Jason Bulger: 1.2 IP, zeroes, 4/0 GB/FB — 14 of 23 pitches were strikes (60.9%)
LHP Juan Cedeno: 1 IP, zeroes, 1 K, 1/1 GB/FB — nine of 14 pitches were strikes
RHP Kevin Whelan: 0.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K — nine pitches, five strikes

[Read more…]

Game 45: The Left Coast

Swish is one of two former A's in tonight's lineup. (Al Bello/Getty Images)

It’s only a handful of games a year, but these late West Coast games are the worst. I’ve lived in out west before, I much prefer Yankees games starting at 4pm out there than 10pm here. First world problems, eh? Here’s the lineup…

SS Derek Jeter
CF Curtis Granderson
3B Alex Rodriguez
2B Robinson Cano
1B Mark Teixeira
LF Raul Ibanez
RF Nick Swisher
DH Eric Chavez
Russell Martin

RHP Ivan Nova

Tonight’s game starts a little after 10pm ET and can be seen on YES. Enjoy.

Ivan Nova News: Apparently Nova was dealing with a “minor hamstring” problem at some point recently, a separate issue from the right foot contusion and right ankle sprain he suffered two starts ago against the Orioles. He’s fine though and will make tonight’s start.

Friday Night Open Thread

(Al Bello/Getty Images)

The Yankees don’t open their three-game weekend series with the Athletics for another few hours, so use this open thread to bide your time. The regular game thread will be along a little closer to first pitch. The Mets are playing the Padres (Dillon Gee vs. Anthony Bass) and MLB Network will be airing a game as well (teams depend on where you live), but the biggest game of the night is the Rangers vs. Devil (8pm ET on NBC Sports). If the Devils win, they move on to the Stanley Cup Finals. If the Rangers win, they’ll play a Game Seven. Talk about whatever you like here.

2012 Draft: Baseball America’s Mock Draft v2.0

Baseball America posted their second mock draft this afternoon (subs. req’d), and they again have the Astros taking Stanford RHP Mark Appel with the first pick. They have the Yankees selecting high school SS Addison Russell with their first rounder (#30 overall), who I profiled last week. He’s a power-hitting infielder with strong defensive tools who may outgrow short and wind up at third.

It’s worth noting that Baseball America says if “any team takes fast-rising Washington prep right-hander Mitchell Gueller in the first round, it could be New York.” Keith Law had the Yankees taking Russell in his first mock draft while also mentioning their interest in Gueller, but as an outfielder. Baseball America had the Yankees taking high school catcher Stryker Trahan in their first mock draft.

2012 Draft: Clint Coulter

The 2012 amateur draft is less than two weeks away, so between now and then I’m going to highlight some prospects individually rather than lump them together into larger posts.

Clint Coulter | C

A former state wrestling champion, Coulter hails from Union High School in Camas, Washington, which is right on the Oregon border and practically a suburb of Portland. His coach is former big leaguer Tom Lampkin, who spent parts of 13 seasons in the show and started over 400 games behind the plate. Coulter is committed to Arizona State.

Scouting Report
Listed at 6-foot-3 and 200 lbs. with a wrestler’s build, Coulter has some of the best power in the high school crop this summer. He hammers mistakes and has shown the ability to adjust to offspeed stuff and drive the ball to all fields from the right side. Although he has the arm and athleticism to catch, Coulter has a long way to go with his receiving and footwork before becoming a solid defensive backstop. He runs like a catcher but is a heady baserunner with strong instincts. Coulter is very coachable and an intense competitor who plays really hard, earning high grades for his intangibles.

Keith Law (35th), Baseball America (48th), and MLB.com (48th) all consider Coulter a fringy first round/firm supplemental round talent based on their most recent rankings. The Yankees pick 30th overall in the first round but do not have a sandwich round pick, so Coulter is one of those ‘tweener types who might not be worth a first rounder but won’t last into the second round. As I wrote two days ago, the Yankees prioritize offensive catchers in the minors and Coulter fits the mold to a tee.

Yankees sign John Maine to minor league contract

Via Evan Drellich, the Yankees have signed John Maine to a minor league contract. The 31-year-old right-hander signed with the Red Sox this offseason but did not pitch a game for them before being released earlier this month. Maine hasn’t appeared in the big leagues since 2010 and has battled significant shoulder injuries through the years. He owns a 4.35 ERA and a 4.68 FIP in 585.2 career innings, most coming with the Mets. I guess the Yankees are going to stash him in Triple-A for a few weeks and see what happens, which will most likely be nothing substantial.