Fan Confidence Poll: May 14th, 2012

Record Last Week: 5-2 (25 RS, 20 RA)
Season Record: 19-15 (166 RS, 149 RA, 19-15 pythag. record), 2.5 games back in AL East
Opponents This Week: @ Orioles (two games, Mon. to Tues.), @ Blue Jays (two games, Weds. to Thurs.), vs. Reds (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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Bats lifeless against Millwood in Pettitte’s return

Source: FanGraphs

It’s not often that a regular season game gets as much attention as Sunday afternoon’s loss to the Mariners. The Yankees were unable to finish off the series sweep but the real story is Andy Pettitte, who officially came all the way back from retirement to rejoin the rotation. I’m sure that made many Tri-State Area mothers extra happy on Mother’s Day. Let’s recap…

  • Andy’s Back: Four runs — on two two-run homers — in 6.1 innings isn’t anything to write home about except when it happens in Pettitte’s first start back. From what I saw, he basically looked like the same ol’ Andy, just a bit rusty. That’s too be expected, obviously. I’m sure nerves were a factor considering the crowd noise and everything, but the start is pretty encouraging given the unique circumstances. There’s lots of season left, so let’s see where this thing takes Pettitte and the team.
  • Ball Four: The Yankees managed just two runs in a game started by the corpse of Kevin Millwood, and both runs came on bases loaded walks. Russell Martin took ball four in the fifth inning — the only run they scored off Millwood — and Robinson Cano did the same in the eighth. Derek Jeter grounded into a first pitch double player following Martin’s walk and Mark Teixeira struck out after Cano’s. Pretty rough day for the offense.
  • LOOGY vs. RHB: I know there was a hideous throwing error involved, but Joe Girardi couldn’t have been surprised that Clay Rapada allowed runs to score when he was left in to face right-handed batters. I mean, walking Brendan Ryan and his .144/.266/.222 batting line is as awful as it gets. It’s okay to use David Phelps for something other than long relief, you know. Yuck.
  • Leftovers: I know the replay showed he was safe, but Nick Swisher‘s TOOTBLAN in the ninth was as dumb as it gets … Cory Wade allowed an earned run in his 1.2 IP of work, just the second time he’s allowed an earned run in an appearance this year … first four hitters: 1-for-13 with three walks; bottom five: 5-for-16 with three walks … Teixeira’s hit was a dinky little swinging bunt infield single, but otherwise he has a whopping 12 hits in his last 19 games. Dude’s a total drag on the offense and shouldn’t be hitting anywhere close to fifth. has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs the other stats, and ESPN the updated standings. The Yankees are off to Baltimore for a quick little two-game series starting Monday, but there’s a very good chance that game will get rained out. The forecast is pretty ugly. If they do manage to play, it’ll be Ivan Nova against Jason Hammel.

Williams and Sanchez return in Charleston loss

With Eduardo Nunez back in Triple-A, Yadil Mujica was sent back to Trenton. Graham Stoneburner (groin) has been placed on the DL as well. Also make sure you check out this Ken Rosenthal piece on Mike Trout, who the Yankees were going to draft in 2009 before the Angels scoped him up.

Triple-A Empire State (3-1 loss to Durham) they faced RHP Chris Archer, the primary piece the Rays received in the Matt Garza trade
2B Kevin Russo & C Gus Molina: both 0-3 — Russo walked and whiffed … Molina struck out twice
CF Colin Curtis, 3B Brandon Laird & RF Cole Garner: all 0-4, 2 K
1B Steve Pearce: 1-3, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 BB, 1 K
DH Jack Cust: 1-3, 1 BB, 2 K — seven walks in his last four games
LF Ronnie Mustelier: 1-4, 1 SB, 1 E (fielding)
SS Ramiro Pena: 0-2, 1 BB, 1 K — I guess he’s off the DL
LHP Manny Banuelos: 6 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 7 K, 5/3 GB/FB — 61 of 89 pitches were strikes (68.5%) … 15/0 K/BB in 14.2 IP since coming off the DL … healthy Manny is good Manny
RHP Chase Whitley: 1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 0 K, 2/0 GB/FB — ten of 17 pitches were strikes
RHP Adam Miller: 2 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 WP, 3/0 GB/FB — 26 of 42 pitches were strikes (61.9%)

[Read more…]

Mother’s Day Open Thread

(AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there, especially mine. You ladies make the world go ’round and we’re all eternally grateful. I hope you’re spending the night with your mother and family, but if not, hang out in our open thread. The ESPN Sunday Night Game is the Angels at the Rangers (Weaver vs. Feliz), plus there’s some NHL playoff action going on as well. Talk about whatever you want, go nuts.

Game 34: Andy’s Back

(Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

I still can’t believe that Andy Pettitte is going to start today for the Yankees. The New York Yankees, not a minor league team with the same nickname, not an American Legion team, not an adult league. The New York Yankees of Major League Baseball. I don’t know what to expect, but I can’t remember the last time I was this excited for a regular season game. Here’s the lineup…

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

LHP Andy Pettitte

This afternoon’s game starts a little after 1pm ET and can be seen on YES. Enjoy, this should be a lot of fun.

Roster Move: As expected, Cody Eppley was sent down to Triple-A to clear a 25-man roster spot for Pettitte. Mariano Rivera wwas transferred to the 60-day DL to clear a 40-man roster spot.

How do you consume your baseball?

Every season it seems to amaze me more and more. Even though my day job involves technology, particularly mobile technology, I’m still in awe of all the ways I can follow baseball at any time. This isn’t just knowing how the Yankees did and who did what for them. It’s following the news as it happens, interacting with other fans, and even getting live accounts of the games while I’m not in front of a TV. All these new features and apps mean I can follow baseball as closely or as loosely as I desire. Better, I can alter my consumption habits to fit current circumstances.

Tablets in particular provide an excellent all-around media experience. Their relative light weight and unhinged hardware make it more like reading a book than using a laptop. That means I can sit back on the couch without something sitting on my lap and keep up to date on the latest news. This comes from a variety of sources.

The latest news always comes across Twitter, so if I’m using that and I’m following the right people I know what’s going on. Many people I know think that Twitter is just a waste of time. In large part they are correct; I’ve never actively used something that has effectively wasted so much of my time. But at the same time it’s also incredibly useful if you want to stay up to date. Follow beat writers and national reporters, and you’ll see the news pass on your timeline as it happens.

(If you do decide to sign up and lurk on Twitter, you can always follow @RiverAveBlues. Mike (@mikeaxisa), Ben (@bkabak), Larry (@Larry_Koestler), Moshe (@yagottagotomo), Stephen (@sprotster), and I (@joepawl) all have individual accounts, but we’re mostly time wasters. I also wouldn’t recommend anyone follow me or Stephen. We’re big jerks, apparently.)

The tablet brings more opportunities for recent news. For instance, a few times a day I’ll open up the NBC Pro Sports Talk app, which quickly loads all the recent posts on Hardball Talk. At the very least I get the latest news. At the most I get some insightful commentary from Craig, Aaron and the crew. The key, to me, is that I can consume as much or as little as I’d like. If I just want the news, I can scan headlines and read the first paragraphs. If I want a bit more depth, the option is right there.

Both tablets and smartphones are perfect for consuming baseball itself. MLB has done a mostly wonderful job of offering up its product on mobile devices. If you’re an subscriber you can link up to the At Bat app on both tablets and smartphones. This lets you not only watch the live Gameday account of every game, but if you have a subscription you can also listen to radio feeds of the games. If the game you want to watch is out of market, you can even watch it live. It might be kinda small on a smartphone screen, but small-screen baseball is better than no baseball.

The one area where MLB lags is with its in-market blackout restrictions. Obviously, TV networks want you watching on your television if possible. They run ads and their rates are largely determined by viewership size. If you’re watching on a tablet rather than on television, they can’t count you as a viewer. This kind of metric should change soon enough, given the rapidly changing media landscape, but for now it’s a hindrance. If you’re in the NY area but don’t have access to a cable TV that has YES, you’re out of luck. You have to be a savvy tech dude if you want to pull up the game.

The saving grace is that many cable companies offer apps for tablets. I’m stuck with Cablevision where I live, but they do have an app that lets me watch live TV on my tablet. This includes YES. This way when my fiancee is watching her shows, I can hang out with her on the couch and watch the Yankees at the same time. The live TV feature doesn’t work off of your home WiFi network, unfortunately, but it’s still something. Watching the Yankees while cooking dinner, for instance, becomes a bit easier.

What’s even better about these technologies is that they’re more widespread than ever. You can get a cheap smartphone or cheap tablet almost anywhere. I’m an iPhone/iPad user, and I make no apologies for it. These tend to be expensive, but with refurbished units showing up at stores such as GameStop, they’re even more affordable. If you’re not into that, there are plenty of Android phones and tablets to choose from. There’s really something for everyone in mobile tech.

If there’s one big issue with all this, it’s cellular data. Previously carriers offered unlimited data plans, but with more and more people buying highly advanced devices, that got to be too much. In search of further profits, most carriers decided to restrict data usage — while, of course, charging the same rate. What used to be unlimited data on Verizon, for example, is limited to just 2GB. AT&T has a similar restriction. Sprint, however, has unlimited data. It also carries the iPhone and many Android devices. There are also many Android phones on T-Mobile that serve the same purposes. T-Mobile has generally cheap plans that allow for a decent amount of high-speed data usage.

It’s getting to be an exciting time in the world of tech. We’re able to use our smartphones and tablets to stay as up-to-date, and as in-depth, as we would like on any topic. For baseball it’s a prefect fit. You can get anything you can imagine on both devices. And it’s all about how much you want to consume.

Huuuuughes and Rauuuuul bury Mariners

Source: FanGraphs

At this point last week, the Yankees were in turmoil following Mariano Rivera‘s injury and four losses in five game. Now? Everything’s looking pretty great as they beat the Mariners for the second straight day on Saturday, their fifth win in the last six days. Let’s recap…

  • BABIPhil: Phil Hughes is a fly ball pitcher, and fly ball pitchers give up homeruns but fewer hits in general. Hughes surrendered one homer on Saturday — a moonshot by Mike Carp — but just five other hits (all singles) in 7.2 IP. He struck out four and recorded 13 of his other 19 outs on fly balls, walking just one. Fly balls can be problematic at Yankee Stadium, but they also help keep runners off base and that’s exactly what Hughes did in his second straight strong start. He’s gotten progressively in each of his last three starts, so let’s hope this little run continues.
  • Two Outs: Hector Noesi retired five of the first six Yankees he faced with relative ease and appeared poised to strand Mark Teixeira at second base in the second, but he just couldn’t get that final out of the inning. Raul Ibanez doubled to score Tex, Russell Martin doubled to score Ibanez, and Jayson Nix homered (a Yankee Stadium cheapie, for sure) to drive in Martin and himself. Two outs, three extra-base hits, four runs. It was all the Yankees would need on the afternoon, really.
  • Rauuul: Because the RBI double wasn’t enough, Ibanez tacked on a solo homer in the fourth inning, a legit blast that landed in Monument Park about 420 feet from home plate. It was his second homer in as many days and fourth in five games. Raul’s become the 2012 version of 2010 Marcus Thames, hitting big homers and driving in a ton of runs despite the lowest of expectations. Go him.
  • Relief: Boone Logan picked up the save, becoming the four different Yankee to record the team’s last four saves. All four of his outs came via the strikeout, but I have to think he’ll get tomorrow off given his recent workload. Logan nearly gave up Carp’s second homer, but it hit off the very top of the wall and replays confirmed it stayed in the park. Either way, Boone’s been absolutely money lately.
  • Leftovers: Derek Jeter had two hits and Robinson Cano extended his hit streak to ten games … Curtis Granderson and Alex Rodriguez each went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts, the eyesores in an otherwise strong offensive day … the Yankees didn’t draw a single walk, continuing a recent trend of impatience at the plate. I think part of that has to do with the recent competition, including Jamie Shields, David Price, and Felix Hernandez. has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs the nerd score, and ESPN the updated standings. The Yankees will look to complete the sweep tomorrow when Andy Pettitte (!) makes his triumphant return to the team. That will be a blast, but alas I will be unable to watch. Blame Mother’s Day. That game starts at 1pm ET, and Seattle is sending Kevin Millwood to the mound. If you hurry, RAB Tickets can help get you in the door.