RAB on MLB Roundtrip

Just a heads up, I’m going to be appearing on MLB Roundtrip on MLB Network Radio tonight (Sirius channel 210). My segment is going to air right around midnight ET, so make sure you listen in. We talk about Andy Pettitte, A.J. Burnett, the bullpen, the usual collection of hot topics.

Montero goes deep again in SWB win

Make sure you scroll down for tonight’s game thread.

Triple-A Scranton (8-4 win over Rochester)
Justin Christian, LF & Greg Golson, RF: both 2 for 4 – Christian drew a walk … Golson scored a run
Reid Gorecki, CF: 0 for 5, 1 K
Eduardo Nunez, SS: 1 for 3, 3 R, 1 2B, 2 BB – four walks in the last three games … what the hell is going on here?
Jesus Montero, DH: 2 for 3, 3 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 BB - apparently the homer was nothing more than a flick of the bat … eight for his last 14 (.571) with two doubles & two homers … that’s his second homer in as many games & third in his last ten games
P.J. Pilittere, 1B: 3 for 4, 2 R, 2 RBI, 1 BB – 11 for his last 24 (.458)
Reegie Corona, 2B: 0 for 4, 1 BB
Eric Bruntlett, 3B: 3 for 5, 1 2B, 3 RBI, 1 K, 1 E (throwing)
Chad Moeller, C: 0 for 5, 1 K
Zach McAllister: 7 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 5-11 GB/FB – 67 of 99 pitches were strikes … gave up a three run homer to a former Yankee prospect
Jason Hirsh: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 1-1 GB/FB – 21 of his 27 pitches were strikes (77.8%) …he had been getting rocked out of the bullpen, so it’s good to see him have a nice day like this

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Game 75: Turning to Andy again

Photo credit: Ross D. Franklin/AP

For the fifth straight time, the Yankees will turn to Pettitte following a poor start by A.J. Burnett. He has responded well the previous four times, tossing 29 innings and allowing just 10 runs. The Yankees have won only two of them, but that clearly is no fault of Pettitte’s. He’s done his job not only by limiting the runs, but also by eating innings. He has completed seven innings in each of those starts.

The stopper role is nothing new to Pettitte. That was always his story during the late 90s. In games after the Yankees lost, especially after they had lost two in a row, you could count on Pettitte to stop the bleeding. As long as he’s pitching behind A.J. Burnett the team is going to continue calling on him in that capacity. Well, that is, unless Dave Eiland brings a pouch of magic dust that will instantly cure what ails Burnett.

The Yanks go full strength in this one. They’ll need firepower against Clayton Kershaw. It would help, too, if Kershaw is more like his last start against Anaheim, when he gave up five runs in 6.2 innings, than he was his start before, when he held the Reds to one run over 7.1.

Hope you enjoyed interleague 2010. This is the last of those games.

Lineup:

1. Derek Jeter, SS
2. Nick Swisher, RF
3. Mark Teixeira, 1B
4. Alex Rodriguez, 3B
5. Robinson Cano, 2B
6. Jorge Posada, C
7. Curtis Granderson, CF
8. Brett Gardner, LF
9. Andy Pettitte, P

Eiland to return Tuesday

Finally, our long national nightmare is over. Marc Carig reports that pitching coach David Eiland will return from his personal leave of absence on Tuesday when the Yankees begin their series against Seattle. The Yanks are off Monday following tonight’s rubber game against the Dodgers. Hopefully everything worked out well for Eiland, but for selfish reasons I’m glad he’s back.

Jeter named USA WEEKEND’s 2010 Most Caring Athlete

As if Derek Jeter needed any more hardware for his mantle, he was just named USA WEEKEND’s Most Caring Athlete of 2010 for his work with a youth league in Washington Heights. Jeter’s sister Sharlee arranged for the children for participate in the league, except most of them had never played baseball before and the team literally couldn’t score a run. Jeter volunteered to coach a game and help teach baseball to the kids, and then took them all out to eat after they scored the first run. Great guy, that Derek.

CHoP and the 2nd Inning

Photo credit: Charles Krupa/ AP

A lot of folks have pondered Girardi’s decision to continue to use Chan Ho Park in multiple inning situations, if use him at all. They point to his pitch count numbers as evidence of his struggles.In pitches 1-25 Park is kinda-almost-somewhat tolerable as a pitcher, hoisting up a .308/.341/.500 line. That’s basically Ryan Howard’s triple slash for the season (plus or minus a few points on average and OBP). On pitches 26-50, it becomes hide-the-children bad. Park has been tagged for a line of .368/.429/.842(!). If the first line is Ryan Howard, the second is Barry Bonds hitting batting practice in 2004. There’s been absolutely no question that the Korean native has struggled tremendously in his first (and likely last) season in pinstripes. But has he really epically collapsed in the second frame of every game he jumps in?

Yes and no. I’ve already looked at this at my own site, so take let’s look appearance-by-appearance.

*On April 7th, game 2, Park went three innings against the Red Sox. Although I recall there being quite a few deep flies, he gave up but one hit, in his 3rd inning. No runs were scored in total.

*April 13th versus Angels: Breezed through the first inning of work but gave up a monstrous shot to Kendry Morales in the 8th. No runs in his first inning. One run in his second inning.

*On May 20th, the Yanks took on the Rays. Struggling 1B Carlos Pena took Park deep in his first inning pitched. This is after he was almost burned by a deep line drive to RF by Ben Zobrist, which Swisher caught. Not a good first inning. His second inning against 7-8-9 batters went much more smoothly – he gave up a single to “Did You Know He Was An All-Star?” Dioner Navarro, but that was all. To recap, one run in his first inning. Zero runs in subsequent inning.

*On May 22nd, Park replaced Phil Hughes with after Alex Cora knocked him out of the game (?!). Park immediately gave up a single and then got a groundout to end the inning. Not terrible, but not a shutdown either. His next inning saw him give up a single and a double to score a run. No runs in first inning, one run in his second.

*Park faced the Indians on May 31st. His first inning started with a strikeout and ended with two weak groundouts. Nice, not bad! The second inning though featured 2 hits and a walk, which led to run. No runs in first inning, one run in second.

Ok, we may be on to something here. In three of his five early season multiple-inning games, Park has given up a run in the second inning. Of course, when looking more critically through the first innings of these outings, it’s not like Park was brilliant, either. He had some good fortune (and was hit around a bit in Tampa) and then it appears the hitters took note of Park and knocked him around his second frame. Let’s see if it becomes a pattern.

*In an extra-innings game at Skydome The Rogers Centre on June 5th, Park came in and issued one walk but also struck one out and received two weak groundball outs in his first IP. The second inning featured two strikeouts, a single and one walk. No runs issued.

*Of course, in last week’s game in Arizona CHoP got lit up. He came into the game in the 7th and did fairly well. It was surprisingly tranquil. Then, in the 9th, he gave up two singles and then a monster home run to Justin Upton. No runs in his first inning. 3 runs in his second inning.

*Last night looked to be the same old story. Park came in and pitched a quick 6th inning (one walk, one groundout, one fly out). Girardi sent him out for the 7th. His performance sealed the game for the Dodgers. Two singles and a double by Matt Kemp finally put the Yankees in the outhouse. Zero runs score in his first inning, two trot around in his second.

So if we add up our tally here, in his first inning of multiple-inning games, Park has given up one run in his first inning pitched and 8 in his second frame. That’s a drastic difference.

So now you’re thinking, “Damn, CHoP’s done pretty well in just the first inning, all things considered. Maybe we can salvage him if Girardi stops throwing him back out there for multiple innings,” right?

Not so fast.

Why? Well, more sobering statistics: in games he’s only pitched one total inning or less, he’s given up 10 runs in 6 2/3rds innings. Park may be significantly worse in the second inning of his appearances, but he’s not an effective pitcher to begin with. Remember, the average hitter facing Park in the first inning is still Ryan Howard.

Should he be given a shot? (Photo credit: Nick Laham/Getty)

I’ve backed Chan Ho this whole year. Constantly I’ve said, “Don’t worry, he’ll turn it around. He has good stuff, this is just a rough patch.” No longer. We’re on the cusp of July and Park has been worth -2.5 runs below replacement. All the while, some pitchers in AAA are turning in good results and could certainly better Park’s performance on the year. At this point, I see no reason to not spell Chan Ho Park “DFA” and bring up a Romulo, Albaladejo, Nova or Melancon. The experiment didn’t work. It’s time to scrap it and call it a sunk cost.

Personally, I’d prefer to keep Nova in AAA to stay stretched out in the event we need a starting pitcher to come up. It would be nice to have a guy that can go multiple innings if need be, considering that right now, with injuries, it’s just Chad Gaudin. This probably means no Albie. So we’re left with Melancon or Romulo Sanchez. I like Romulo’s stuff and the fact that he can spot start or at the very least go multiple innings one way or another. But I worry that his control will be erratic considering that he’s thrown 5 or more walks in three of his last eight starts.

This means —at least in my world— Mark Melancon is my de-facto choice to replace Chan Ho should he be DFA’d. Melancon likely has the biggest upside of the pitchers in AAA, has been in The Show before, can go multiple innings and has been just curtains for opponents lately. He hasn’t given up a run since June 6th, though I’d prefer a better K/BB ratio in that time (2:1).

One way or another, something has to change. Simply put, if the team is not going to DFA Park, Girardi needs to put him in situations where his impact on a game is minimal. This means mop-up work in one frame or less.

Link dump: catching depth, Nardi and Markie, former Yankees, AJ

Marc Hulet of Fangraphs took a look at the catching depth in the minors for two teams, the Yankees and Blue Jays. The conclusion? Toronto has a slight advantage over the Bombers with “solid prospects at five different levels,” whereas the Yankees, according to Hulet, have three. Definitely worth a read.

Trenton Thunder beat writer Mike Ashmore spoke with Mark Newman for a few minutes. Any large decision taking place with Yankee affiliates goes through Newman, who serves as the team’s Senior Vice President of Baseball Operations. Mark discusses the possibility of moving 3B prospect Brandon Laird around the diamond a bit to create “positional flexibility,” and also talks about what he’s seen with Dellin Betances, Andrew Brackman and a few other topics. A must-read.

It’s looking like a good day for Mashmore. He’s got another excellent link to check out. Mike this time sat down with Yankee pitching guru Nardi Contreras. Contreras discusses the mechanics of Brackman, the progress of George Kontos, Noesi and pitch counts, Venditte’s “novelty act,” and where Contreras would like to see Dellin and Graham Stoneburner finish out the season.

Steve S. at TYU has been keeping up with how former Yankees have been doing. Aroyds Vizcaino has done well enough to earn a promotion to Hi-A, though he’s struggled in his first get go. Take a look at that list and remember what some had been saying about keeping certain players. Not all the off-season moves have panned out, but some of the other options haven’t lit up the sky, either.

The Yankees have no plans to skip AJ in the rotation as they did when Javier Vazquez struggled, LoHud’s Chad Jennings is reporting. “I don’t think he’s necessarily going to benefit from it right now,” Girardi said.