Yanks can’t answer Orioles in 4-3 loss

The Yankees played catch-up for most of Monday afternoon, but they couldn’t quite surpass the Baltimore Orioles. A.J. Burnett was neither good nor bad, but he gave the team a chance to win. The offense had its chances, but went 1 for 7 with runners in scoring position. That led to just three runs, which just wasn’t enough.

Biggest Hit: A-Rod ties it

(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

Derek Jeter doubled to lead off the game, but he was the only one who could hit Brian Matusz early. He retired the next 11 straight and looked generally in control of the game. With two outs in the third he missed low with two curveballs to A-Rod. He got him to swing through a high fastball and then came inside with one. It wasn’t quite as inside as the one A-Rod popped to left his first time, and that gave him the opportunity to get out in front of it. Into the visitor’s bullpen it went. A-Rod had tied the game.

The Orioles answered with one in each of the fifth and the sixth, but the Yankees started a rally in the sixth. Swisher walked and Teixeira singled, putting runners on first and second with none out. A wild pitch made it second and third. A-Rod got home the first run with a sac fly, and Cano followed with a game-tying RBI single, still with just one out. Cano had reached second with two outs, and although Jorge Posada worked a quality seven-pitch at-bat he ended with a slow grounder up the middle. The Yanks had tied it, but missed an opportunity to extend the rally.

The two RBI, as you might have read, give him an MLB record 14 seasons, and an all-time-tying 13th consecutive season, with 100 RBI. If he does it next year he’ll surpass Lou Gehrig and Jimmie Foxx.

Roberts kills Yanks

(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

The two biggest hits of the day for the Orioles came off the bat of Brian Roberts. In the fifth he came up with Cesar Izturis on second and two outs. Burnett threw a 2-0 fastball on the outside edge and Roberts lined it the other way for a go-ahead RBI. Then again in the seventh he came to bat with a runner on second with two out. This time Burnett threw him a 2-1 curveball on the inside corner. Roberts pulled this one on a line, again breaking the tie.

While Roberts broke two of three ties in the game, he also hurt his team with some poor base running. After fielding Roberts’s liner in the fifth, Marcus Thames fired towards home. A-Rod cut it off and caught Roberts trying to take second. Then in the seventh Roberts really got caught in a bind. I guess he thought Francisco Cervelli would be preoccupied with a play at the plate. Instead the throw was slightly up the line and Patterson was about to score anyway. Roberts got hung up between first and second, eventually being tagged by Derek Jeter. Both miscues ended the inning.

The plan backfires

(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

When they’re on, the Yankees can run up their opponent’s pitch count. This comes in especially handy against young pitchers, who might not go as deep into games as veterans. The Yankees made Matusz throw 106 pitches through six innings, so they got to the AL’s second-worst bullpen for the final three. Considering they got three off Matusz, another two off the bullpen didn’t seem unreasonable. But the birds closed the door.

Matt Albers, Jim Johnson, and Koji Uehara held the Yankees hitless during their comeback attempt. Among them they struck out four and left both baserunners stranded. That was the big difference for Baltimore. The offense did an adequate job, and their starter gave them the minimum. Good bullpens can work through situations like this — the Yanks have put together three-plus-inning bullpen strings lately. Bullpens like the Orioles are normally prone, but this time they came through.

That said, play the last three innings 50 times and I bet the Yanks win more than 30 of them. Sometimes things just work out this way.

Miscellany

After recording two outs Boone Logan has lowered his ERA to 2.38. He has allowed just three of 22 inherited runners to score (14%).

In the past month Derek Jeter has hit .205/.273/.295. Get better, Derek.

I just noticed this, but before yesterday’s game Mark Teixeira‘s OPS+ was 141. It might have dropped a point yesterday, but that’s still 140 or so. Last year his OPS+ was 149.

Jorge Posada worked his third hat trick of the season. He hasn’t been horrible as a DH, .248/.328/.416, but he’s a much bigger threat when behind the plate, .276/.384/.529. A lot of that is probably him DHing when he’s a little banged up.

I wouldn’t expect to see Austin Kearns for the next couple of days. If his finger were feeling fine I’m certain he’d have pinch hit instead of Curtis in the ninth.

Graph and Box

So close. So close.

More at FanGraphs. Here’s the box.

Up Next

Back to the night games. I couldn’t be happier. It’s the Big Stoppa CC Sabathia against rookie Jake Arrieta.

Montero goes deep on season’s final day

Last day of the regular season, everyone. It’s been real. (Yes, DotF is still around in the playoffs for you noobs)

Triple-A Scranton (4-3 win over Lehigh Valley in 12 innings) they finished at 87-56, tops in the North Division … their playoff series with Columbus starts on Wednesday when D.J. Mitchell gets the ball
Reid Gorecki, CF: 2 for 6, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 2 K, 1 SB – threw a runner out at second
Kevin Russo, 2B, Juan Miranda, DH & Edwar Gonzalez, RF: all 0 for 5, 1 K
Jesus Montero, C: 1 for 5, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 K – finishes the season at .289/.353/.517 with career highs in doubles (34), triples (3), homers (21), walks (46), and strikeouts (91) … the strikeouts suck, but it’s not an absurd amount and you’d expect him to whiff more as a 20-year-old at this level … all in all, considering how poorly he started, it was a rather successful season for the Yankees’ undisputed top prospect
Jorge Vazquez, 1B: 2 for 4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB
Chad Huffman, LF: 1 for 4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 K
Eric Bruntlett, SS: 1 for 5, 1 R, 2 K, 1 SB
Brandon Laird, 3B: 1 for 5, 1 2B, 1 RBI – finished the year at .281/.336/.482 with a career high 25 homers and 42 walks between AA and AAA
Hector Noesi: 6.2 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 4-6 GB/FB – 63 of 94 pitches were strikes (67%) … finishes with a 3.20 ERA and a 153-28 K/BB ratio in 160.1 IP at three different levels
Royce Ring: 0.1 IP, zeroes, 1 K – three of his four pitches were strikes
Zack Segovia: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 0-2 GB/FB – nine of 13 pitches were strikes (69.2%)
Kevin Whelan: 1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 1-0 GB/FB – half of his 22 pitches were strikes … I guess he’s the closer with Jon Albaladejo in New York, but he blew the save in this game when he served up a solo homer
Amaury Sanit: 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 Balk, 1-1 GB/FB – 21 of 33 pitches were strikes (63.6%)
John Van Benschoten: 1 IP, zeroes, 1 K, 1-1 GB/FB – nine of 15 pitches were strikes (60%)

[Read more…]

Open Thread: My 2010 RAB Fantasy Football Team

Time for the annual tradition of revealing the fantasy football team I drafted for you all to mock and laugh at. We only did 14 teams this year (in the past it’s been 20), and it was basically the same people as last year. So you didn’t miss a post about signing up or anything, we never had one. Sorry. Anyway, here’s my squad…

QB: Aaron Rodgers (1st round, 6th overall)
RB: Jamaal Charles (2/23)
RB: Jonathan Stewart (3/34)
WR: Wes Welker (5/62)
WR: Donald Driver (6/79)
TE: Vernon Davis (4/51)
RB/WR: Laurence Maroney (7/90)
K: David Akers (13/174)
D/ST: New Orleans (8/107)

BN: Cadillac Williams, RB (9/118)
BN: Jacoby Jones, WR (10/135)
BN: LaDainian Tomlinson, RB (11/146)
BN: Austin Collie, WR (12/163)
BN: Jeremy Shockey, TE (14/191)
BN: Jason Campbell, QB (15/202)

Rodgers might have been a bit of an overdraft at six, but with all the premium backs already gone, I figured I was better off taking the mammoth quarterback production than gambling on Frank Gore’s knees. With any luck, Charles will continue last season’s breakout and Jacoby Jones has a breakout of his own in Houston. I could really use that big wideout. I’ve struggled with running back depth the last two or three years, so I was happy getting Maroney and Cadillac reasonably late since I know they’re at least likely to get the bulk of their team’s carries.

I’m not nearly as good at fantasy football as I am fantasy baseball, but I feel better about this team than any other team I’ve drafted in the past few years. My first four picks went exactly as I planned before the draft, so that made me feel good. Here’s the full draft results, if you’re interested. Next year I’ll remember to not schedule it on Labor Day weekend.

Anyway, here’s your open thread for the night. Depending on where you live, the Marlins-Phillies or Rays-Red Sox will be on MLB Network. At this point, Yankee fans have to pull for a Boston sweep. Just think of it as rooting for a Tampa loss, not a Red Sox win. Other than that, I’m sure there’s a bunch of college football on. Talk about whatever, just be cool.

Game 138: Time to start a new streak

The Yankees saw their season best eight game winning streak come to an end yesterday, but they’ve got a chance to come back and start a new streak today behind … A.J. Burnett. Yeah, that doesn’t sound too good, but in two of the three times he’s started against Baltimore this year, he’s held them to one unearned run or less through at least seven innings. That, uh, makes me feel better.

The Yanks haven’t played the Orioles since early June, before Buck Showalter took over as manager and gave the MSM something to write about with the way he’s “turned their season around.” The O’s are 13-12 19-31 under Showalter after going 38-74 before he arrived, yet they’ve still managed to lose a bunch of games in the standings. I really like Buck as a manager for that team given all their young players, but 25 games is indicative of nothing, especially a manager’s ability to get the best out of his players.

Anyway, here’s the lineup that’ll face Brian Matusz today…

Jeter, SS
Swisher, RF
Teixeira, 1B
A-Rod, 3B
Cano, 2B
Thames, LF
Posada, DH
Cervelli, C
Gardner, CF

And on the bump, it’s A.J. Burnett.

Today’s Labor Day matinee starts at 1:05pm ET and can be seen on YES locally or MLB Network nationally. Enjoy the game, and any holiday fun.

Pettitte’s bullpen, Curtis’s recall, and Swisher’s return

This morning Alex Belth perfectly described New York City on Labor Day. The news is similar. It’s slow, peaceful, noncontroversial.

It’s official: Andy Pettitte will make a rehab start Wendesday. Mark Feinsand lets us know earlier that a short bullpen session would determine the rehab schedule. It sounds like everything went well. Girardi mentioned two rehab starts, presumably Wednesday and Monday, which would put him in line to return a week from Saturday. But there is always the chance he makes only one start and rejoins the team early next week.

Also, as expected, Colin Curtis has joined the team. That will help while Austin Kearns battles a sore index finger and Nick Swisher plays on a creaky knee. Chances are he won’t see much playing time; he’s just an insurance policy.

Finally, watch out for balls hit to the outfield today. The Yanks have Swisher, who isn’t running at full speed, in right and Marcus Thames in left. Brett Gardner will have to cover a ton of ground in center today.

Fan Confidence Poll: September 6th, 2010

Record Last Week: 6-1 (46 RS, 26 RA)
Season Record: 86-51 (743 RS, 560 RA, 87-50 Pythag. record), 2.5 games up
Schedule This Week: vs. Orioles (three games, Mon. to Weds.), Thurs. OFF, @ Rangers (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 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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Homers doom Hughes, Yanks’ winning streak

All good things must come to an end, and that’s exactly what happened to the Yankees’ eight game winning streak today. The Blue Jays did what they do best, hitting the ball out of the park against Phil Hughes. Three different Jays went deep off the Yanks’ starter, and a few other tack on runs eventually put things out of reach. On the bright side, the Yanks did get their cleanup hitter back.

(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

Hughes Mistakes

As he gets further and further away from his previous career high in innings pitched, Phil Hughes appears to be becoming more and more prone to making mistakes. On a day when he otherwise looked pretty decent, Hughes made two glaring errors when he turned a pair of 0-2 counts against Vernon Wells and Aaron Hill into two-run homers. It was the same problem both times; a fastball that ran back in on the inner half and right into each batter’s wheelhouse. Hughes later hung a cutter to John Buck, who sent it into Monument Park for a solo shot. Three out of every four pitches Phil threw was a fastball, and Toronto’s hitters were teeing off on it.

(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

Aside from the longballs, which were obviously major mistakes and the reason the Yankees lost their first game in over a week, Hughes allowed four hits (three doubles, one of which was a ground rule double) and walked just one, striking out five. After consecutive starts with a season high five walks, the one free pass is a good sign. He still allowed way too many foul balls (24 out of 100 total pitches), but that appears to be par for the course these days. Certainly not his best outing, but I though Hughes’ stuff was pretty good. He just missed his spots a little too often and got beat.

Once Again, No Match For Cecil

The Yanks have faced Jays’ lefty Brett Cecil now four times this season, and each time they’ve walked away with a loss. They did, however, manage to score more than one run against him for the first time, knocking him out of the game with one out in the seventh and three runs on the board thanks to 11 baserunners. They had a few opportunities to do some damage, namely in the third (runners on first and second, two outs), fifth (same), sixth (man on second, one out), and seventh (first and second, two outs), but ultimately they couldn’t capitalize.

Cecil, a lefthanded changeup artist, has gotten the best of the Yankees each time out, so maybe it’s time to rethink stacking the lineup with righties against him. I mean, fool me once shame on you, fool me four times, shame on the strategy. Hopefully the guys keep that in the memory bank for next year and avoid another one of these messes.

Leftovers

(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

Alex Rodriguez‘s return to the lineup after a 15-day stint on the disabled list went fine; he legged out an infield single and later drove in a run with a line drive single to center. He also struck out looking to end the game, though the pitch did look a little inside. Alex also looked a-okay in the field, though he wasn’t tested with anything difficult. Even though the Yanks lost, it sure was nice having A-Rod back in the lineup.

Nick Swisher, meanwhile, looked pretty bad running down to first during his late pinch-hitting appearance. He was fine at the plate, but the limp was very, very noticeable once he tried to run. I’ll be surprised if he manages to play tomorrow. Austin Kearns played the field but did not bat, so who knows how his sore hand is doing. With he and Swish banged up, the outfield got real thin, real quick.

(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

The Brett Gardner, Professional Lead-off Hitter™ experiment continues to be smashing success. He went 2-for-3 with a walk on Sunday, and has reached base 19 times in his last seven games atop the lineup. Gardner’s got a .467 OBP since August 13th. Studly.

Hughes had allowed two homers total on 0-2 counts in his career before this game, then he allowed two more. All but three of the 22 homers he’s given up this year have come at home, so if the Yanks start Hughes in the playoffs, I imagine they’ll try to get him out there on the road.

Jon Albaladejo hit Jose Bautista with his first pitch right between the numbers on his back, but don’t get too excited, it was a curveball. The Yanks held Bautista to one single and four walks in the series, much better than what he was doing to them earlier this year.

The Rays fell to the Orioles on Sunday, so the Yanks lead in the division remained at two-and-a-half games. With the White Sox beating the Red Sox and passing them in the Wild Card standings, the Yanks magic number to clinch a playoff spot remains at 17, good old Jerry Hairston Jr.

WPA Graph & Box Score

MLB.com has the box score and video, FanGraphs everything else.

Up Next

The Orioles roll into town for a Labor Day matchup on Monday. A.J. Burnett gets the ball against Brian Matusz during the Yanks’ fifth consecutive 1:05pm ET start.