Postgame Notes: “Really not that bad.”

Photo Credit: Frank Franklin II, AP

When Javy Vazquez left tonight’s start after taking a pitch to his right index finger, the first thing everyone thought was “here we go again.” It seems like every time the Yankeess play a game these days, someone goes down with injury. X-rays were negative on Javy’s bruised digit, and the good news is that the ball missed his nail. Just got the meat.

“Really not that bad,” said tonight’s winning pitcher when asked about the pain, in fact he joked that he didn’t even realize he had been hit until after running down to first. Vazquez didn’t know he was bleeding until he got back to the dugout and took his batting gloves off, at which point he basically said to himself “oh man, this is bad.” Joe Girardi couldn’t offer any more info beyond what we already know, but he did say they’ll know more by Sunday. Javy did some tests gripping a baseball, and said everything went fine. He still has to see how he feels in a few days, and how it feels actually throwing a baseball in his upcoming side work.

Vazquez will have an extra day of rest before his next start because of Monday’s off day, so it’s entirely possible he’ll make his next scheduled start against the Twins next Thursday. That would be pretty awesome.

  • Javy said his command is getting better, especially with his fastball. He seems like a very cool guy, he joked about being embarrassed by the injury because he’s been bunting in the NL so long. Said that’s never happened to him before.
  • The Yankees left eight men on base, but Girardi isn’t concerned that players are pressing. He praised Mets’ starter Hisanori Takahashi for getting strikeouts when he needed them, particularly Derek Jeter in the 3rd and Nick Swisher in the 4th.
  • Girardi also isn’t concerned about Mariano Rivera, who’s been hit unusually hard in his last three outings. “He usually has pinpoint control,” he said, “but it hasn’t been pinpoint the last few times. ” I don’t know if the fans are panicking, but no one in the clubhouse is.
  • “Big night.” That’s pretty much all Girardi – or anyone – had to say about Kevin Russo. Making his first big league start, Russo went 2-for-3 and saw 14 total pitches, driving in the team’s only two runs. I’d bet on him playing again tomorrow.

And finally, for any Mets’ fans out there, Jerry Manuel said Ike Davis didn’t hurt himself rounding second on his 9th inning double. He just missed the bag and had to go back to touch up. Mets baseball, ladies and gentlemen.

Update: Forgot to mention this above, but the pitch Javy suffered the injury on was not the deciding pitch of his at-bat. It was the foul immediately before that.

Vazquez leaves with bruised finger, x-rays negative

Update (10:14pm): X-rays negative. And exhale.

9:52pmIt’s a bruised right index finger for Vazquez, and he’s being taken for x-rays.

9:31pm: After six innings of one hit, no run ball, Javy Vazquez left tonight’s game with an apparent finger injury. Looks like he might have gotten clipped with the ball while laying down a sac bunt in the bottom of the 6th. He had only thrown 70 pitches up to that point. I’ll update this post with more info once it’s available.

Game 42: On the road, but not really

"And that's when I was like 'easy lady, 40 is too young for me." (Photo Credit: Frank Franklin II, AP)

History is being made tonight, folks. For the first time in the history of the universe, River Ave. Blues is covering a game as a credentialed member of the media. We had to travel to lovely Flushing, NY to make it happen, but that’s a small price to pay. In case you missed it, here’s my pregame notes with a big Curtis Granderson update.

As for tonight’s game, well the Yankees can really use a win, regardless of who it comes against. This weekend will get an undue amount of hype as a big series, but the Mets are in last place in their division and have lost nine of their last 12 games. At least someone’s been worst than the Yankees recently. Javy Vazquez is making his first start since shutting down Detroit more than a week ago, but Mets’ starter Hisanori Takahashi is making his first start in the United States. It seems like no matter how bad things go for the Yanks, it’s just a little worse for the Mets.

Here’s tonight’s lineup…

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

And on the mound, Javy Vazquez.

First pitch of the 2010 edition of The Subway Series is scheduled to be thrown at 7:05pm ET, and you’ll be able to watch on either YES or SNY. I totally cut in front of Gary Cohen on the line to get a drink in the media lounge earlier. Anyway, enjoy the game.

Pregame Notes: Granderson, Thames, Cervelli

Pregame stretching. Exciting stuff.

Curtis Granderson is leaving tonight to join Triple-A Scranton for a rehab assignment, according to Joe Girardi. He’s expected to play five out of six days while DH’ing some, and could be back in the Yankees’ lineup by the end of next week. Best news of the day.

Granderson was out on the field earlier running the bases, and he also fielded a variety of batted balls in the outfield – grounders, fly balls, liners off the wall, you name it. Girardi indicated that because he was moving around so well, it was time to get him in rehab games.

Here’s some other tidbits from the pregame press conference…

  • Marcus Thames‘ ankle is still bothering him, but he’s going to take batting practice and see how it goes. At best, he’ll be available to pinch hit.
  • Girardi didn’t seem concerned about Frankie Cervelli‘s heavy workload of late, and said there’s “no thought” about sitting him. He did say he’s going to watch him physically every day to see how he holds up. Tonight will be Cervelli’s fifth start in the last five days and seventh in the last eight, but he’s 24-years-old, lots of life in those legs.
  • “You start to feel it at game time,” said the Yanks’ manager when asked about the excitement of the Subway Series. “It’s the energy involved … players aren’t going to walk around and brag, but the fans might.”
  • As far as seeing Mets’ starter Hisanori Takahashi for the first time, Girardi basically said the only thing you can do is watch video. “It’s obviously more difficult. If you’re righthanded, you have to know you’re getting fastball-changeup.” The 35-year-old lefty has a 3.51 xFIP this season, though tonight will be his first start.
  • Girardi’s not concerned about Javy Vazquez‘s layoff at all. He basically had the “he’s been around a while, he knows what to do” attitude. Javy’s last start was nine days ago, but he did come out of the bullpen to strikeout Kevin Youkilis on four pitches Monday night.

Back with the game thread a little later on.

Yanks look to recover against crosstown foes

With the loss to Tampa Bay last night, the Yankees fell below .500 on their latest home stand, to 3-4. Thankfully, they still have three more pseudo home games to go. While they won’t be playing in the friendly confines of Yankee Stadium, they’ll still have a hometown crowd behind them this weekend as they face off with the Mets at Citi Field. A bout with the National League might be just what the Yanks need to rebound from a tough week at the Stadium.

The Teams

The New York Mets

At 20-22, the Mets currently reside in the NL East’s basement. That’s not as bad as it sounds, of course, since there are more than a few terrible NL teams. Five teams have fewer wins than them, one has the same number, and two have just one more, so the season is far from lost for the Flushing faithful. They need a strong series just as much as the Yanks.

Batting stats (NL rank)

BA: .246 (13th)
OBP: .320 (14th)
SLG: .385 (12th)
wOBA: .315 (13th)

The Mets lineup features a number of poor bats, including right fielder Jeff Francoeur, who has cooled off considerably after a torrid start. Management finally wised up and jettisoned Mike Jacobs and replaced him with Ike Davis, and the difference has been tremendous. Jose Reyes has also turned in an underwhelming season so far.

Pitching stats (NL rank)

ERA: 3.97 (7th)
FIP: 4.37 (12th)
K/9: 7.70 (5th)
BB/9: 4.54 (16th)
WHIP: 1.49 (13th)
LOB%: 76.5 (4th)

That last number pretty much explains the rest of them. The Mets have a good team ERA, but that’s because they’ve been able to strand the inordinate number of batters they’ve walked. This appears a bit odd, considering the Mets have the third lowest ground ball percentage in the league. Keeping the ball on the ground can help prevent base runners from advancing more than one station. Still, the Mets have fared well with men on base, and it has helped their run prevention unit considerably.

New York Yankees

Even after the rough homestand the Yankees still own the second best record in the AL at 25-16. A few teams are close — Toronto has as many wins but two more losses — so the Yankees have to make a quick turnaround after a rough patch. They’re still missing Jorge Posada, Nick Johnson, and Curtis Granderson, but will have Nick Swisher back for the weekend series.

Batting stats (AL rank)

BA: .279 (1st)
OBP: .365 (1st)
SLG: .453 (3rd)
wOBA: .364 (1st)

Even while missing a number of starters in recent weeks, the Yanks have only gone through one real dry spell with the bats. Otherwise they’ve hit the cover off the ball, as their AL ranks indicate. For what it’s worth, and it’s probably only worth something to die-hard statheads, the Yanks are obliterating the rest of the league in advanced metrics. Their wOBA lead is by .010, and they’ve produced 13 more wRAA than the next closest team.

Pitching stats (AL rank)

ERA: 3.93 (3rd)
FIP: 4.41 (9th)
K/9: 6.88 (7th)
BB/9: 3.35 (6th)
WHIP: 1.30 (3rd)
LOB%: 74.0 (4th)

Like the Mets, the Yankees have prevented a good number of runners from scoring, at least relative to the league. They have also done a good job of preventing hits on balls in play — their .280 BABIP ranks second lowest in the AL. Part of that low BABIP comes from a high groundball rate, 44.9 percent, which ranks fourth best in the AL. This is even better, because the Yanks have the highest HR/FB ratio in the bigs. Keeping that fly ball rate down, then, means fewer home runs.

[Read more…]

RAB in the house at Citi

That picture was taken by Mike, from the press box at Citi Field. He’ll be covering the game from there tonight and Sunday, and I’ll be your humble host tomorrow afternoon. We’d like to thank the YES Network and the Mets for giving us this opportunity. Mike will be back later with lineups and your game thread.

Update By Mike (3:07pm): Curtis Granderson was on the field running the bases, sprinting from first to second as well as first to third. Played some long-toss in the outfield (he was by the Xerox sign in right-center, the guy he was playing with was on the foul line by third base. I couldn’t throw a ball that far with a relay man), and now he’s taking groundballs and shagging flies and fielding balls off the wall in center and throwing to third and all that jazz.

Here’s a shot of him running…

Curtis Granderson running the bases pregame.

Yankees, Scranton extend PDC through 2014

The Yankees will be in Scranton through at least 2014, the club announced yesterday. The big league organization has opted to extend its player development agreement with its AAA franchise to cover the next four seasons. Additionally, SWB Yankees LLC, the joint venture between the Yankees and Mandalay Bay that manages the team, has also re-upped its agreement for the same length of time.

“We remain committed to having our Triple-A franchise in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre,” Yanks’ COO Lonn Trost said. “The market offers us an excellent combination of business opportunities as well as player development and baseball operations efficiencies. We are delighted to be extending our relationships in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.”

Scranton has been home to the Yanks’ Triple-A affiliate since 2007, when the team left Columbus after a 28 year relationship. The team made the move to bring its highest level minor league affiliate closer to New York, and it doesn’t get any closer than Scranton. The PDC extension is good news yet unsurprising because it really is a match made in Triple-A heaven. With a strong fan base, geographically favorable and good business opportunities, it just makes sense for both sides.

Despite this convenience, a PDC renewal was no sure thing last year. As the Yanks adjusted to life in Scranton, the club found that the ballpark needed $13 million in upgrades due to a bad drainage system, and Scranton was not too keen on building a new stadium for the team. Still, the Yanks are committed to working through these problems.

“We look forward to continuing to work with county leadership and members of the Multi-Purpose Stadium Authority of Lackawanna County to develop a plan to significantly improve the current stadium or replace it with a new one,” Trost said.

With this news, Kei Igawa too stands to benefit as he’ll have a few more years to build on his career franchise-record win total.

Additional reporting by Benjamin Kabak