Open Thread: Heading home on a high note

Frank Thomas once hit .353/.487/.729 in a full big league season. True story. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Kinda hard to believe those two runs held up today, isn’t it? Well I’m glad they did, the Yankees needed to go back home on a high note. In fact, they’re on their way back to the Bronx right now to start their longest homestand of the season, a ten gamer that will feature visits from the A’s, Blue Jays, and Orioles. Perfect opportunity to get fat before crunch time.

Tonight’s ESPN Sunday Night Game is relevant to the Yanks, with the Rays taking on the Red Sox in Tampa (Shields vs. Lackey). Who do you want to the win? I wish there was a way for both to lose, but since there isn’t, I’m pulling for Tampa. Bury the Sox and secure a playoff spot first, then worry about winning the division. Anyway, I think the Emmy’s are on tonight as well, though I could be wrong. Not my cup of tea, but to each his own. Anyway, use the thread as you see fit.

Berkman to join Double-A Trenton for rehab tomorrow

Out since August 15th with an ankle injury, Lance Berkman is set to join Double-A Trenton on a rehab assignment tomorrow. “I don’t anticipate he’ll need a ton,” said Joe Girardi in reference to the number of rehab at-bats Berkman would need, “but you just have to see how it goes.” Rosters expand on Wednesday, so the smart money is on Berkman playing with the Thunder tomorrow and Tuesday before rendezvousing with the team in New York.

Of course, the DL stint wasn’t completely necessary to start with, but remember the Yanks were dealing with a bit of a roster crunch at the time. Alex Rodriguez and Nick Swisher were both banged up, and at one point the team had a one man bench. Hopefully Berkman comes back strong and adds some length to the lineup.

Update: Berkman’s comment: “I know fans can’t wait for me to continue my pursuit of the Mendoza line.” I laughed.

Game 130: Take the series

Save us Alex, you're our only hope. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Joe Girardi always says that he and his team focus on winning series, something the Yankees did so well and so often earlier this year. The wins aren’t coming as easily of late, but they have a chance today to capture their third series in their last four tries. Standing in their way is Gavin Floyd, who recently ran off a 12 start stretch in which he allowed more than one earned run just twice, and both of those times he allowed just two runs. However, he has allowed 15 runs (19 IP) in his last three starts, so hopefully that’s the guy the Yanks run into today.

Mark Teixeira, the player selected one spot after Floyd in the 2001 draft, gave his injured hand a try during pregame warm-ups, but he’s a no go. Here’s the lineup…

Gardner, LF
Jeter, SS
Swisher, 1B
Cano, 2B
Thames, DH
Granderson, CF
Kearns, RF
Nunez, 3B
Cervelli, C

And on the bump, it’s Ivan “don’t call me Chevy” Nova.

First pitch is scheduled for a little after 2pm ET and can be seen on YES locally or TBS nationally. Enjoy the game.

Pettitte feels good after latest bullpen session

Via Chad Jennings, Andy Pettitte said he felt good after throwing a 35-pitch bullpen session today as he continues his rehab from a groin strain. The final 20 pitches were thrown with the same intensity as a normal bullpen session, an encouraging sign. “I heated it up pretty good,” said Pettitte. “I just felt good.” He estimated that the earliest he could return is two weeks, which I hope is not too soon. The last thing the Yanks need is for Andy to push himself too hard and suffer another setback.

Sunday Morning Links

A few morning links for your pleasure:

Growing up in New England there aren’t many baseball phenoms I get to follow.  While I now pay extra attention to Jeff Locke (wow does that Nate McLouth trade look bad), I hadn’t heard much about Jeff Allison in a while.  Allison was a big story in New England in 2003 when drafted but it was downhill soon thereafter.  Allison unfortunately went down the Josh Hamilton path and had serious problems with substance abuse.  Here’s a recent story on Allison, and it’s good to see that he has been sober for almost 4 years now.  He may never make it to the majors, but he’s come a long way since nearly dying twice of overdoses.  If the baseball story never pans out hopefully the human being side will.

There have been approximately 22,000 articles written this week on Johnny Damon potentially returning to the Red Sox, and then Johnny Damon refusing to return to the Red Sox.  Some people (idiots) ripped him and called him a coward, while others looked a little deeper.  Lee Jenkins had the best take that I read on it, and while Damon didn’t leave New York under the best of circumstances, there was never the animosity that was prevalent when he left Boston.  For a guy who has played for 5 teams (so far) in his career, at the end of it I think he’ll consider himself a Yankee.

We all know Stephen Strasburg is heading for surgery and baseball fans everywhere are saddened by it.  He simply is a talent that fans could rally around because he is truly a special to watch.  Here former phenom Mark Prior addressed the latest news on Strasburg from someone who has clearly been there.  Interesting note in the article is that Prior was recently clocked at 92 MPH.  Prior, once a Yankee draft pick is still trying to come back and while I would never rely on him, I’d love to see the Yankees take a flyer on him.  He is, after all, still just 29 years old.

While I’m not a big Rick Reilly fan he did a good job of telling the story of Jane Lang and her dog Clipper’s recent visit to Yankee stadium.  Not much to add to this but to drive home the fact that Hope Week has quickly become one of the best things about the Yankees season.  Some of the stories really make you reflect on how good you have things, and this is no different.

Offense goes wild in 12-9 win

For the second straight night the White Sox scored nine runs. But instead of another discouraging loss the Yankees hit John Danks hard, driving him from the game in the fifth. They scored 12 runs in all, including four home runs. That’ll get them a win just about every time.

Biggest Hit: Jorge extends the lead

The Yanks went ahead early in this game thanks to three two-run home runs, but by the end of the fourth the White Sox had hit a few homers of their own. The game was 6-5 when Danks started working the fifth. Nick Swisher Drew an eight-pitch walk. Four batters later, after a Robinson Cano single, Jorge Posada drove a double to right. It was deep enough to score both Swisher and Cano, extending the Yankees’ lead to three. They’d tack on two more before the end of the inning.

(AP Photo/John Smierciak)

The rally coincided with CC’s revival. From the fifth through the seventh he faced 11 batters and struck out five of them. He looked generally good earlier in the game, but Jones and Konerko took advantage of hittable pitches. That will sometimes happen. Thankfully it happened on the right night.

Learn from Mo, for Mo is wise

(AP Photo/John Smierciak)

As he so often does, CC pitched a solid seven which, with the aid of 11 runs, should have meant an easy job for the bullpen. The Yankees used four relievers in the final two innings, and the first three of them gave up runs. Well, technically only Joba and Robertson gave up runs, but Logan allowed both of his inherited runners to score so he’s not so innocent. It wasn’t encouraging, but again it came on the right night.

Mo picked them all up at the end. Robertson had created a save situation, and since he hadn’t pitched in a week it was as good a situation as any to use him. His first order of business was to get rid of that pesky baserunner, which he did by busting Carlos Quentin inside and eventually inducing a ground ball double play. He then toyed with the White Sox for a couple of batters before finishing the game.

Nunez’s big day

(AP Photo/John Smierciak)

A lefty started the game, which meant that Eduardo Nunez took his turn in the uninspiring A-Rod replacement platoon. Both Nunez and Ramiro Pena can field the position with ease, but neither has a bat that remotely approaches a diminished A-Rod. But there are some games when that light hitting player can go on a tear. Pena has done it before. Last night it was Nunez’s turn.

He started the festivities in the second with a two-run homer, the first of his career, extending the lead to three. It was the third straight fastball from Danks, and it actually looked pretty inside. Nunez got around on it and lined it out to left. He then came through in the seventh with a bases loaded single that put the Yanks up by five. In the eighth he singled to lead off and eventually came around to score on a Swisher single. Finally, in the ninth he picked up his first big league walk.

The career evening raised his line from .250/.250/.300 to .333/.360/.500.

Graph and Box

That’s how I like my away game graphs. Nice and towards the bottom.

More at FanGraphs. And there’s also the box score.

Up Next

The Yanks get Gavin Floyd tomorrow at 2 p.m. Ivan Nova gets his second major league start.

Teixeira day-to-day with bruised thumb

Update (11:17pm): Tex said he injured the hand yesterday on a dive and tried to play through it today, but it was too sore. Joe Girardi gave it the old day-to-day and said Nick Swisher will sub at first for the time being.

8:44pm: It’s a bruised right thumb for Tex, though we don’t know when or how it happened. Hopefully it’s just a bruise and nothing more serious.

7:50pm: Mark Teixeira was pinch hit for in the 3rd inning of today’s game for an unknown reason. There wasn’t any kind of obvious play where he may have injured himself, so we’re just going to have wait and see on this one. Fingers crossed.