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.

Gumbs leads the way in Charleston blowout win

If you’re wondering what Jorge Vazquez is up to, Mike Ashmore points out that he’s back playing in the Mexican League this summer. He’s hitting .273/.344/.473 with three homers in 15 games for Tigres de Quintana Roo after the Yankees released him at the end of camp. It wasn’t much of a secret that JoVa was getting tired of playing in Triple-A, but apparently none of the other 29 clubs were willing to give him a shot.

Triple-A Empire State (3-2 win over Durham, walk-off style)
2B Kevin Russo: 1-5, 1 R, 1 SB
LF Colin Curtis: 1-4, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K — walk-off single
1B Steve Pearce: 1-3, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K — has replaced JoVa and then some
DH Jack Cust & CF Ronnie Mustelier: both 0-4 — Cust struck out twice … Mustelier played center, eh? interesting
3B Brandon Laird & C Frankie Cervelli: both 1-4 — Laird doubled

RF Cole Garner: 0-4, 1 K
SS Yadil Mujica: 2-4, 1 2B
RHP Nelson Figueroa: 6 IP, 9 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 8/2 GB/FB — 62 of 91 pitches were strikes (68.1%)
LHP Juan Cedeno: 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 2/0 GB/FB — 20 of 35 pitches were strikes (57.1%)
RHP Kevin Whelan: 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 3/0 GB/FB — 16 of 22 pitches were strikes (72.7%)

[Read more…]

Saturday Night Open Thread

(REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine)

This is the perfect time of year. The weather’s great — not too cold and not disgustingly humid NYC summer yet — and right about now is when the Yankees usually start to go on a bit of a roll. They’ve now won five of six following this afternoon’s beatdown of the Mariners, and they were just one bad David Robertson inning away from six wins in a row. Since Mariano Rivera‘s injury, they’ve won six of nine. It’s an unfortunate reference point, but wins are wins.

Anyway, here is tonight’s open thread. MLB Network is airing a game (teams depend on where you live), but the biggest game of the night is Game Seven between the NY Rangers and the Capitals at the Garden (7:30pm ET on NBC Sports Network). Winner of that game will play the Devils in the Eastern Conference Finals. Talk about that or whatever else you want here.

Yankees claim Justin Thomas off waivers from Red Sox

Via Maureen Mullen, the Yankees have claimed lefty reliever Justin Thomas off waivers from the Red Sox. Not sure what the corresponding 40-man roster move is, but the Yanks have a ton of 60-day DL candidates so that’s not an issue.

Thomas, 28, has a minor league option left, so I’m assuming he’ll head to Triple-A. He pitched to a 7.71 ERA (3.17 FIP) in seven appearances (4.2 IP) with Boston, allowing two singles and a double to the 12 left-handed batters he’d faced. Thomas has pitched for the Mariners and Pirates in the past, but given how terrible the Sox’s bullpen is, I wouldn’t expect much if they cut him loose.

Update: Just for the sake of completeness, the Yankees have transferred Austin Romine to the 60-day DL to clear a 40-man spot for Thomas.

Game 33: An Old Friend

(AP Photo/John Froschauer)

Hector Noesi seems to be the forgotten man in the Jesus MonteroMichael Pineda trade. He was slated to be the team’s sixth starter before being dealt away, but Brian Cashman was emphatic in saying that Noesi would work as a starting pitcher in Triple-A instead of serving as the long-man again. I guess that means David Phelps would have still made the Opening Day roster but not gotten starts when Freddy Garcia had to be removed from the rotation. Who knows. Anyway, here’s the starting nine…

DH Derek Jeter
CF Curtis Granderson
3B Alex Rodriguez
2B Robinson Cano
1B Mark Teixeira
RF Nick Swisher
LF Raul Ibanez
Russell Martin
SS Jayson Nix — might as well see what he can do at short

RHP Phil Hughes

Today’s game is scheduled to start a little after 4pm ET and can be seen on YES. Their will be a pre-game ceremony for Yogi Berra’s 87th birthday on the field, so make sure you tune in for that. Enjoy.

Pitching Update: As expected, David Phelps is moving back into the bullpen and will be available tomorrow after starting on Tuesday. Andy Pettitte will take Phelps’ rotation spot. Have to figure Cody Eppley will be sent to Triple-A to accommodate Andy tomorrow.