Following this afternoon’s game, Joe Girardi said that Eric Chavez was unavailable all weekend due to a sore back. He is expected to return to the lineup tomorrow, however. Chavez played four straight games earlier this week and that’s probably as far as the Yankees can push him these days. As long as he’s good to go tomorrow, no big deal.
These last two games have gone about as well as the Yankees could have hoped, and this afternoon they have a chance to wrap up their first three-game sweep of the Blue Jays in Toronto since the very first series of the 2003 season. Yeah, it’s been a while. I blame Roy Halladay for being so good all those years. Here’s the lineup…
SS Derek Jeter
RF Nick Swisher
1B Mark Teixeira
DH Robinson Cano
LF Andruw Jones
CF Curtis Granderson
3B Casey McGehee
C Russell Martin
2B Jayson Nix
RHP Phil Hughes
This afternoon’s game is scheduled to start a little after 1pm ET and can be seen on YES. Enjoy.
The Yankees are starting to climb out of this recent funk, beating the Blue Jays on Saturday for their fourth straight win and sixth in the last nine games. They also secured their first three-game series win in Toronto since May 2009. Yeah, it had been a while. Let’s recap…
- Super Duper Nova: This was a pretty big start for Ivan Nova, who came in having allowed at least six runs in four of his last seven starts. He responded by striking out ten and walking one across 7.1 innings of two-run ball. All ten strikeouts came on breaking balls, which he used heavily — Nova threw 46 curveballs and 13 sliders out of his 105 pitches, and he did a decent job of locating them down in the zone. He still hung a few, but all the Triple-A guys in the Jays’ lineup allowed him to get away with them. Sometimes you need a date with a bad lineup to kick start things, so hopefully Nova takes off.
- Bats McGehee: The Yankees jumped all over former Yankee Aaron Laffey the second time through the order, tagging him for four two-out runs in the fourth. Jayson Nix singled in the first run of the game before Casey McGehee hit a three-run homer, a legit blast into the second deck in left-center. His first homer in pinstripes was no cheapie. The Yankees tacked on another run in the sixth when Derek Jeter drove in McGehee with a ground rule double, that one also off Laffey.
- Bullpen Work: Nova did most of the heavy lifting, but both David Robertson and Rafael Soriano appeared in the late innings. Robertson threw all of one pitch, getting Omar Vizquel to ground into an inning-ending double play. Nix deserves some props for the tough turn at second. Soriano had a flawless ninth for his 28th save. It was about as routine as it gets for the eighth and ninth inning guys.
- Leftovers: Jeter’s double was his 150th hit of the season, making him the only non-Hank Aaron player in history with 17 consecutive 150-hit seasons. Only three players have 18 150-hit seasons overall, nevermind consecutively … McGehee was the only player other than Jeter with two hits, and so far all of his hits with the Yankees have gone for extra-bases (two doubles and a homer) … the bottom third of the order did almost all of the damage (4-for-12), the top six guys went a combined 3-for-22 (.136). They did draw five walks though, so it’s not all bad.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some additional stats, and ESPN the updated standings. The Rays won again, so the Yankees will remain six games up in the AL East regardless of what happens after all the rain in Baltimore. Phil Hughes will be on the mound on Sunday afternoon to try to secure the sweep. Toronto will counter with 2009 World Series opponent J.A. Happ.
Triple-A Empire State (5-1 win over Buffalo)
RF Chris Dickerson: 1-4, 2 R, 1 RBI, 2 SB
2B Corban Joseph & C Frankie Cervelli: both 1-4 — CoJo drove in a run and walked … Cervelli stole a base and struck out
SS Eduardo Nunez: 1-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 SB — five straight exactly-one-hit games
LF Ronnie Mustelier: 1-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 K — ten hits in his last 39 at-bats (.256), but three doubles and a homer
3B Brandon Laird: 2-4, 1 R, 1 2B,1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 K — his 14th homer puts him two behind last year’s pace in 24 fewer at-bats
CF Melky Mesa: 0-4, 1 K
1B Kosuke Fukudome: 0-3, 1 BB, 1 K
DH Darnell McDonald: 1-3, 1 BB, 2 K
LHP Justin Thomas: 4.1 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 4/1 GB/FB — 49 of 76 pitches were strikes (65%)
RHP Kelvin Perez: 2.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 5/0 GB/FB — 20 of 27 pitches were strikes (74%) … he’ll be a minor league free agent after the season and seems to be on the keep/let go bubble
RHP Preston Claiborne: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 1/1 GB/FB — 17 of 26 pitches were strikes (65%)
Via Marc Carig, right-hander David Phelps will start in place of CC Sabathia on Monday. The just-signed Derek Lowe will back him up out of the bullpen. Sabathia was placed on the DL with a stiff elbow earlier today. Joel Sherman says the Yankees will recall Ryota Igarashi for tomorrow’s game before activating Lowe in time for Monday’s game.
CC Sabathia is headed to the DL with elbow stiffness, and the Yankees have replaced him with another innings eater. Marc Carig reports that the Bombers have signed Derek Lowe while Joel Sherman adds that he has agreed to pitch out of the bullpen as a long reliever. He’s expected to join the team on Monday. David Phelps will start in Sabathia’s place on Monday, and Ryota Igarashi will come up to fill the vacant roster spot for tomorrow. The Yankees have an open 40-man roster spot, so no additional move is required.
Lowe, 39, was released by the Indians earlier this week, meaning the Yankees will only be on the hook for the pro-rated portion of the league minimum. The veteran right-hander pitched to a 5.52 ERA (4.47 FIP) in 21 starts and 119 innings for Cleveland this year, though he walked more batters (45) than he struck out (41). He also got hammered in his last dozen starts, pitching to an 8.80 ERA. That’s why he was released. Lowe still generates a ton of ground balls (60.0%) with his upper-80s sinker, though left-handers have just crushed him this year (.412 wOBA).
Although he hasn’t pitched out of the bullpen since 2007, Lowe spent a number of years closing for the Red Sox earlier in his career. He’s familiar with a relief role, so it shouldn’t be a huge adjustment. The Yankees also don’t have to worry too much about him and the whole New York/big market/pennant race pressure thing after all his time in Boston, plus they know first hand that he can handle a playoff-type atmosphere. I don’t put much stock in that stuff, but at least there are no concerns here.
I kinda had a feeling this was coming after we learned about Sabathia’s injury only because it was an easy move to make. Lowe was a free agent with a fixed price (practically free), and a guy who could soak up some innings without issue — he’s thrown at least 180 innings every year since 2001. Adam Warren figures to remain in Triple-A for the time being, but he was the other alternative for Monday’s start and Sabathia’s roster spot. Lowe’s signing is a depth move, another example of an older and accomplished player accepting a reduced role with the Yankees.
Four, four wins in a row. Ah ah ah. The Yankees are starting to climb their way out of that funk from the last few week, but the happiness over this afternoon’s win was quickly snuffed out by the news of CC Sabathia’s elbow-induced DL stint. Thank goodness for big leads in the division, eh?
Anyway, here is your open thread for the evening. The Mets are playing the Braves (Santana vs. Medlen) and MLB Network will air a game as well. Who you see depends on where you live.