Fan Confidence Poll: April 23rd, 2012

Record Last Week: 4-2 (44 RS, 33 RA)
Season Record: 9-6 (90 RS, 73 RA, 9-6 pythag. record), tied for AL East lead
Opponents This Week: @ Rangers (three games, Mon. to Weds.), Thurs. OFF, vs. Tigers (three games, Fri. to Sun.)

Top stories from last week:

Please take a second to answer the poll below and give us an idea of how confident you are in the team. You can view the interactive Fan Confidence Graph anytime via the nav bar above, or by clicking here. Thanks in advance for voting.

Given the team's current roster construction, farm system, management, etc., how confident are you in the Yankees' overall future?
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Rain out sets up pitching staff for Texas series

(REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi)

The Yankees had nine games postponed by rain last season, the most in the majors. They had their first weather-induced postponement of 2012 on Sunday, and I think the baseball gods just decided to have mercy on the Red Sox given their recent performance. Either way, we’ll get to enjoy Saturday’s amazing comeback while the Sox have to wallow in the stench of defeat for another day. That works for me.

After the postponement was announced, Joe Girardi confirmed they’ll simply push their starting pitchers back a day. That means CC Sabathia on Monday, Hiroki Kuroda on Tuesday, and Phil Hughes on Wednesday against the Rangers. The Yankees have the option of throwing Ivan Nova on Wednesday instead of Hughes, though it doesn’t sound like that will happen. No decision has been made about Freddy Garcia, but I have to think they’ll use Thursday’s off day to skip his next start.

The bullpen was actually in pretty good shape despite Garcia’s short start on Saturday, though the extra day of rest will only help. Mariano Rivera and David Robertson will each have two straight days off, so we could see them in all three games against Texas knowing that they’ll get a breather come Thursday. Girardi also confirmed that they’ll still with 13 pitches through the series with the Rangers, so Cody Eppley survives the roster crunch for another few days. He was originally drafted and developed by Texas, so I’m sure the trip to Arlington will be special for him.

It’s unfortunate the Yankees won’t get to beat up on these Red Sox one more time because they’re definitely down and out at the moment. Plus their bullpen is trashed after Saturday’s game. Now this game will be delayed until at least July, when things could be much different. That’s life though. The Yankees will instead enjoy the breather and head to Texas for their biggest test in this young season.

Betances wild again; Charleston walks off with eighth straight win

Eduardo Sosa and Kelvin Castro of the High-A Tampa Yankees. (Photo via Katherine Mitchell)

Josh Norris recently sat down for a long chat with pitching coordinator Nardi Contreras, who spoke about the Triple-A arms, Jose Campos, promotions, and much more. Make sure you check it out.

Triple-A Empire State (6-5 win over Norfolk)
CF Colin Curtis & C Craig Tatum: both 0-4 — Curtis walked, Tatum whiffed
2B Jayson Nix: 2-4, 2 R, 2 2B, 1 BB, 1 K — first game of the season after spending some time on the DL
RF Dewayne Wise: 2-5, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI — 13 for his last 29 (.448) with five doubles and a homer
1B Steve Pearce: 2-3, 1 R, 2 2B, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 1 K — 12 for his last 27 (.444) with five doubles and a homer
DH Jack Cust: 2-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K — first homer of the season
3B Brandon Laird: 1-3, 1 BB, 1 SB
LF Kevin Russo: 0-3, 1 BB, 1 K
SS Ramiro Pena: 2-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 E (throwing)
RHP Dellin Betances: 4.1 IP, 3 H, 5 R, 2 ER, 6 BB, 3 K, 1 WP, 1 Balk, 3/3 GB/FB, 1 E (throwing) — 36 of 59 pitches were strikes (51.0%) … he walked two of the first three batters he faced and the two final batters he faced with two walks to 19 batters in between … that’s a dozen walks in eight innings across his last two starts
RHP Nelson Figueroa: 2.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 0 K, 3/3 GB/FB — 22 of 34 pitches were strikes (64.8%)
RHP Chase Whitley: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 0 K, 0/2 GB/FB — half of his 18 pitches were strikes
RHP Kevin Whelan: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K — eight of 11 pitches were strikes

[Read more…]

Rainy Sunday Night Open Thread

(Photo via Fenway Fruit Girl)

The Yankees and Red Sox were rained out tonight, leaving us with a baseball-less Sunday night. There is an NHL playoff game on in a little bit (Kings-Canucks), but the Knicks have already played and there’s nothing going on locally. It will be nice to relax though, Sunday night Yanks-Sox games aren’t exactly good for the nerves right before the workweek. Feel free to talk about whatever your heart desires in this open thread tonight, but here’s a discussion question just for the heck of it…

If you could change one thing about the Yankees, what would it be? Could be a player, a bullpen role, the front office, Yankee Stadium concessions, anything.

Rained out: Yanks-Sox postponed tonight

Tonight’s game has been postponed, the Yankees have announced. The makeup date has yet to be determined. The Yankees return to Fenway Park the series immediately before the All-Star break and right in the middle of September (11th-13th). They could play a doubleheader or make the game up during their mutual off-day on September 10th.

The good news is that the Yankees will be able to catch an early flight to Texas for their three-game series against the Rangers starting Monday. Hooray for that.

Low-A Notes: Bichette, Williams, Sanchez, Austin

The Low-A Charleston River Dogs are one of the most prospect-laden teams in the minors, with four of the Yankees’ top seven prospects calling South Carolina a home this season. Keith Law was in attendance for Friday night’s game against West Virginia and shared his observations in a blog post yesterday. Here are a few highlights…

  • Dante Bichette Jr. did not play in the game but he did take batting practice. Law said he “has cleaned [his swing] up significantly since signing” and is better equipped to use the entire field. “He’s much more balanced and upright through contact without costing himself any of the hip rotation that helps him generate power,” he wrote.
  • Mason Williams appears to be selling out for power and didn’t show the same disciplined approach as he has in the past. He remains a top-flight defensive center fielder and Law believes there “will be plenty of power there when his body matures.”
  • Gary Sanchez‘s bat remains ridiculous, with power to all fields despite an exaggerated leg kick. His defense was a “pleasant surprise, as he’s substantially improved over where he was last year in both receiving and throwing.”
  • Mike Newman of FanGraphs got a look at Sanchez earlier this week and did not agree with Law’s assessment of his defense, for what it’s worth. The video above comes from Newman’s article, which you should read.
  • Tyler Austin has a swing that is “effortless [and] balanced throughout with a strong finish for line-drive power.” Law said he was unable to make adjustments to a series of changeups in the dirt and fastballs inside, however.
  • Kelvin DeLeon is the same guy he’s always been. He hits the ball a mile when he connects but can also swing and miss with the best of ’em. I saw DeLeon a few times back in his Staten Island Yankees days, the kid hadn’t met a pitch he didn’t think he could hit.

Charleston is the Yankees’ most interesting minor league affiliate this season and it’s not particularly close. The Triple-A pitchers are closer to helping the big league team, but most of the prospect star power — especially position players — is down in Low-A. They won’t all work out, that’s why it’s important to have so many of ’em.