Rays pound Yanks on Old Timer’s Day

Following yesterday’s touching tribute to George Steinbrenner and Bob Sheppard and Nick Swisher‘s walk-off hit, today’s game felt much more routine. Mickey Rivers got things started off with a walk-off hit of his own in the Old Timer’s Game, but the current Yankees couldn’t carry that momentum into their game against the Rays.

(AP Photo/Frank Franklin)

Brignac’s Career Day

Once upon a time, Rays’ infielder Reid Brignac hit .321/.376/.539 split between High-A and Double-A, putting himself on the prospect map in 2006. Of course, he hasn’t exceeded a .760 OPS since, including this year in the big leagues. He started today’s game hitting .265/.329/.365 with just two homers, so naturally he went 3-for-5 with two long balls in this game. The first was the more damaging of the two homers, a 2nd inning shot off A.J. Burnett that increased Tampa’s lead to three. The second homer was a garbage time three run job off Dustin Moseley.

(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

The Rays would push ten runs across against a sorry trio of Yankee pitchers, with Brignac driving in five. It was just his fifth career three hit game and first career multi-homer game, so good for the kid. Hopefully that’s the last time I ever tip my cap to him.

What is this, 2006?

Burnett started Saturday’s game off fine, retiring the first two batters he faced before back-to-back hits gave Tampa the lead. Fine, whatever. It happens. Next inning, more of the same. Two quick outs, hit batter, then Brignac goes deep. Burnett then made an error trying to barehand a dinky little comebacker before escaping the frame, and he was so frustrated that he slammed his pitching hand (his pitching hand!!!) against a clubhouse door and hurt himself. The lacerations took away whatever shaky control he had to begin with, and he was out of the game before recording an out in the 3rd.

So on comes Moseley. He needed 75 freakin’ pitches to put eight men on base in three innings of work, and as you can imagine, his ERA now accurately reflects that performance. Chad Gaudin came in to finish things off, throwing the final four innings while giving up a pair of runs. The Yankees were down 4-2 when Burnett exited the game, but the Rays really mopped the floor with the Yanks mop-up men, washing away any hope of a comeback.

(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

As I was watching the game, I thought to myself  “I can’t believe I’m watching Dustin Moseley pitch for the 2010 Yankees, this has a 2006-2008 vibe,” and it really did. Another team’s retread trying to soak up the middle innings after a stinky outing by the starter. Thankfully these kinds of games have been few and far between this season, which is a lot better than what we suffered through a few years ago, but still. When Sergio Mitre returns next week, I assume GM Brian Cashman is just going to flip a coin to determine who gets designated for assignment. Heads it’s Moseley, tails it’s Gaudin.

Miscellaneous

Rays’ starter Jeff Niemann was very wild in the early going, walking the bases loaded before Brett Gardner singled in a pair of runs in the 2nd. He settled down after that, retiring 15 of the final 20 batters he faced. Jorge Posada and Mark Teixeira each took him deep for solo shots, but they were too little, too late.

The silver lining of this one: Posada’s starting to swing the bat a little better. He went 2-for-5 with a homer today after going 1-for-3 with a walk and a homer yesterday. Posada hit just .215/.348/.336 in 132 plate appearances after coming off the disabled list month, and the obvious possible reason for the improvement is the All Star break. The four days off probably gave the 38-year-old some time to heal up and recharge the battery. Whatever it is, hopefully he keeps it up.

Oh, and in case you missed it, Tim McCarver compared the Yankee front office to Nazi Germany. Ross has the video.

WPA Graph & Box Score

Never had a chance. MLB.com has the box score, FanGraphs the other stuff.

Up Next

Tomorrow’s rubber game matinee features a pair of All Star lefties in Andy Pettitte and David Price. That should be a blast. The Yanks are still up two games on Tampa in the division, 5.5 up on Boston, so they’re guaranteed to start their series against the Angels on Tuesday in sole possession of first place regardless of what happens between now and then.

McAllister roughed up in SWB loss

The Yankees have asked Brandon Laird to start taking fly balls in the outfield before games, obviously because they want to try him out at there at some point in the future. That point may not be until next season, but it’s clear the team is trying to increase his versatility. Nothing is imminent though, this is just the start of the process.

Meanwhile, Dickie Marquez got released. I had him in my top 30 prospects list once upon a time, long before RAB. I blame that on the team’s lack of prospects at the time, not my poor judgment. Yeah, that’s it.

Triple-A Scranton (11-7 loss to Toledo)
Kevin Russo, 0 for 5, 4 K – understand since he’s had two plate appearances in the last 28 days
Reegie Corona, 2B: 1 for 5, 1 K
Eduardo Nunez, SS: 1 for 3, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 E (fielding)
Chad Tracy, 3B: 1 for 3, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 BB - nine for 22 (.409) with four homers since signing
Jesus Montero, C: 0 for 4
Reid Gorecki, DH & Greg Golson, CF: both 1 for 4, 1 R – Gorecki K’ed three times … Golson homered, drove in two & K’ed
Eric Bruntlett, RF: 3 for 4, 2 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 1 K – 12 for his last 23 (.522)
Zach McAllister: 2 IP, 7 H, 8 R, 5 ER, 3 BB, 1 K, 1 WP, 2-2 GB/FB – 35 of his 61 pitches were strikes (57.4%) … first time he’s walked three batters since his first start of the season … there was talk in the comments earlier about whether McAllister or Ivan Nova would replace A.J. Burnett if he had to miss a start, and frankly Z-Mac hasn’t done enough to earn a shot at the big leagues this year
The Ghost of Kei Igawa: 3.2 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 2-5 GB/FB - 40 of his 67 pitches were strikes (59.7%) … first action in 19 days … he gave up three homers
Eric Wordekemper: 1.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 0-2 GB/FB – 12 of his 17 pitches were strikes (70.6%)
Royce Ring: 1 IP, zeroes, 3-0 GB/FB - six of his 10 pitches were strikes … lowers his ERA to 1.52
Zack Segovia: 1 IP, zeroes, 2 K, 1-0 GB/FB – all nine pitches were strikes

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Burnett leaves game with ‘lacerations’ on his throwing hand

Update(8:13pm): Burnett lied to Joe Girardi and Co. earlier; he cut his hand when he slammed it on a door. That can’t happen; he has to show some self-control. I know he’s frustrated — we’re all frustrated with his recent pitching — but that kind of behavior is selfish and inexcusable. At least Kevin Brown had the sense to use his left hand.

(6:31pm): A.J. Burnett left this afternoon’s game in the middle of the bottom of the third inning with what manager Joe Girardi later said were “lacerations on his right hand.” The Yanks’ skipper didn’t know when Burnett hurt his hand, but Kim Jones reports that Brian Cashman said Burnett tripped going up some stairs and scraped his hand. The injury to the Yanks’ right-hander appeared to impact his curve ball command. Dustin Moseley entered the game to relieve Burnett, and A.J. is, for now, day to day.

Injury Updates: Mitre, Aceves, Johnson

Earlier today we learned that Damaso Marte had to be placed on the disabled list with a bout of shoulder tendinitis and then A.J. Burnett left his start with lacerations on his right hand. While those two are only the latest in a slew of injured Yankees, we have some updates on the guys working their ways back to the Bronx.

Sergio Mitre threw a side session this afternoon after making a rehab start for Triple-A Scranton on Thursday. He will return to the team for the start of the Angels’ series on Tuesday. You have to figure that’s the end of the line for one of Chad Ho Moseley trio, and after today’s outing, Moseley may have thrown his final pitches for the Yanks. They should have traded him before he could opt out when his stock was at a high.

Two other key cogs aren’t close to returning. After suffering yet another setback, Alfredo Aceves will begin a throwing program this weekend by tossing off flat ground. With some major back problems plaguing him, Aceves isn’t coming back to help the bullpen anytime soon, and anything the Yanks get out of him this season is a bonus. He may have to explore surgery after the season is over.

As for Nick Johnson, he has restarted his rehab after feeling pain in his wrist earlier this month. His new plan involves “aggressive wrist exercises,” but he is still a few weeks away from true baseball activities such as swinging a bat. Like Aceves, anything they get out of Johnson the rest of the season is gravy.

Feel free to use this update as tonight’s open thread. We’ll be back later with Down on the Farm and the recap of this afternoon’s Rays-Yanks affair.

Yankees interested in Wes Helms

Via MLBTR, the Yankees have shown some interest in utility player Wes Helms, who Joe Girardi is familiar with from his time in Florida. The 34-year-old Helms isn’t much of a hitter, posting a sub-.300 wOBA in three of the last four seasons, including this one (.297).  His .148 ISO is Helms’ best since his 2006 under Girardi, so maybe he knows the magic formula. He’s basically a poor man’s version of Ty Wigginton, capable of playing first and third in a pinch. For what it’s worth, he’s long been considered a tremendous clubhouse guy, not that the Yanks need it.

There’s about $429,000 left on Helms’ contract this year, and he’s not close to being a Type-B free agent, nevermind a Type-A. If nothing else, he should be easy to acquire and easily DFA’able if it comes to that. The Yanks may also be talking to the Fish about other players as well.

Game 90: Bob Sheppard’s day at the park

Bob Reads a Poem

While the Yanks honored Bob Sheppard last night by silencing the public address announcer — including the between-innings barrage of scoreboard noise — George Steinbrenner took center stage with constant video tributes and a longer piece reflecting on his legacy prior to the game. Today, it’s all about Bob, as the Yanks’ dearly departed voice will be feted this afternoon. After airing a pre-Old Timer’s Day video tribute, the team will put on a special performance during the 7th inning stretch to remember the 57-year veteran of Yankee Stadium.

With another emotional day on tap, the Yankees will get down to business on the field this afternoon, and it should be another good one. Fresh off of their thrilling 5-4 walk-off last night, the Yanks will send the streaking A.J. Burnett to the mound. On the season, Burnett is an unimpressive 7-7 with a 4.75 ERA. His K/9 IP is down to 6.8 and his K/BB ratio is 1.76. But after a terrible stretch in June, Good A.J. has come roaring back. Over his last 13.2 innings, he’s allowed just a pair of earned runs on nine hits and five walks while striking out nine.

The Rays, however, have a bunch of good left-handed hitters who could give A.J. problems, and he has not pitched too well against Tampa this year. He’s 1-1 vs. the Rays in 2010, but he’s allowed eight earned runs in 13.2 innings while surrendering 13 hits and seven walks and striking out just five.

Opposing Burnett will be Jeff Niemann, another live arm in the Rays’ rotation. He’s 7-2 with a 2.77 ERA, but he’s outpitching his FIP by a considerable amount. With that mark of 4.21, he could be in for a regression against a good-hitting Yankee team playing in front of a boisterous crowd.

This one’s on FOX, and it’s supposed to start at 4:05 p.m. Game time temperatures are expected to be in the low 90s.

2 Jeter SS
33 Swisher RF
25 Teixeira 1B
13 Rodriguez 3B
24 Cano 2B
20 Posada DH
14 Granderson CF
29 Cervelli C
11 Gardner LF

34 Burnett P

2010 Old Timer’s Day Thread

Less than 24 hours after paying tribute to George Steinbrenner and Bob Sheppard, the Yankees will hold their annual celebration of the team’s storied history this afternoon. Ah yes, Old Timer’s Day. One of my favorite days of the season.

The Yanks are the only team that could pull off an event like this, honoring all the great players that have donned their uniform. Some of them weren’t even great, but they’re all beloved because of their contributions to the team. It’s like a big family reunion, it’s the one time a year we get to catch up with some old friends.

Sadly, one friend that won’t be in attendance today is Yogi Berra. Sweeny Murti reports that he fell in his home last night, and even though nothing is broken and he’s still in one piece, he’s bruised and sore and will not make the trip out. I know I’m not alone in wishing him a speedy recovery.

The Old Timer’s Day festivities begin at 2pm ET and can be seen on YES. LoHud has the exact schedule and the list of who’s attending, but I prefer to be surprised.