Higashioka goes deep again in loss

Triple-A Scranton was rained out. Not sure when they’re going to make this one up, but Syracuse doesn’t come back to town until the end of May.

Double-A Trenton was rained out as well. They’ll make this one up as part of a May 22nd doubleheader.

High-A Tampa (8-4 win over Daytona)
Abe Almonte, RF, Corban Joseph, 2B & Myron Leslie, 1B: all 1 for 4 – Almonte scored a run & K’ed … CoJo doubled & drove in a run … Leslie drove in two
Jose Pirela, SS: 0 for 4, 1 K – 1 for his last 13 (.077)
Bradley Suttle, 3B: 0 for 2, 2 R, 2 BB, 1 K – 3 for his last 18 (.167)
Neil Medchill, LF, Melky Mesa, CF & Mitch Abeita, C: all 1 for 3, 1 2B – Medchill drew a walk, scored twice & drove one in … Mesa drove in two, scored once & K’ed … Abeita drew a walk, scored a run, drove one in & allowed a passed ball
Trent Lockwood, DH: 2 for 4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI
Brandon Braboy: 4 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 7-3 GB/FB
Craig Heyer: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K
Pat Venditte: 2.1 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 2-0 GB/FB – they’ve got him on the multiple innings every three days schedule, which is what the Yanks put all their top relief prospects on
Phil Bartlewski: 0.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 0-1 GB/FB

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Game Ten: Lefty vs. lefty

Photo Credit: Peter Morgan, AP

ofAs the Angels head out of town with their halos between their legs, the Rangers come on in fresh off being shut down by Indians’ lefty David Huff yesterday. They’ll get another lefty tonight, though CC Sabathia and Huff are on opposite ends of the southpaw spectrum. The Yanks’ ace flirted with a no-hitter last time out, and has pleasantly avoided his typical April slump in the early going. He makes his first home start of the campaign tonight.

Opposing Sabathia tonight is starter turned middle reliever turned setup man turned closer turned setup man turned starter C.J. Wilson, who is one of the few professional athletes worth following on Twitter. He struck out nine in seven shutout innings against the Jays in his first start, but missed his last outing earlier this week with a stomach bug. Hopefully he’s a little off his game tonight. Here’s the starting nine…

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

And on the mound, Carsten Charles Sabathia.

First pitch is scheduled for 7:05pm and can be seen on YES. There’s some rain in the forecast, but it looks like there will be enough of a window to get this sucker in. Enjoy the game.

Update (10:14pm): The game has been called, so the Yankees win. Our regular recap will be along later tonight.

The Ho Train makes a stop on the DL

Who had Chan Ho Park in the “first to hit the disabled list” pool? The veteran reliever was placed on the 15-day DL today after he injured his hamstring while warming up last night. His replacement? Lefty Boone Logan, who has done a bang-up job for Triple-A Scranton so far this year (6.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 9 K). He threw 27 pitches just last night, so he might not be available until tomorrow.

Apparently CHoP could’ve just rested it and been available when the Yanks go out to the west coast next week, but the team didn’t want to risk. No point in doing so this early in the season.

RAB Live Chat

Piliere on Hughes and Joba

AOL FanHouse’s Frankie Piliere has a new post up comparing the Yankees’ two young and hyped righties, Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain. The two appear to be going in opposite directions, as Hughes is in the process of cementing his place in the Yanks’ rotation while Joba flounders in the bullpen. “[Hughes] was challenging hitters and rearing back and firing with the fastball last year,” said Piliere, “and as he showed on Thursday, he has carried that over into 2010 … If we see more of what he showed against the Angels, the Yankees’ patience is on the verge of paying off.”

I’ve always said that I expect Hughes to have the longer and more productive career, while Joba will have the greater peak. Is it possible we’ve already seen the best of Joba? I don’t believe so, but it’s foolish to disregard the possibility.

Changing up the chat

Mike chatted during the game last night, so I’m coming in from the bullpen to provide relief. I’ll try to be more like David Robertson yesterday than David Robertson Tuesday. We’ll kick this off at 2:30pm ET and run it until I need to go somewhere, or else we run out of questions.

A hot start something new for the Yanks

With last night’s victory the Yankees improved their season record to 6-3, having taken two out of three in each of the first three series. That doesn’t quite place them atop the AL East, as the Blue Jays have played one more game (and won it), but it’s an excellent start nonetheless. The Yankees aren’t exactly used to this type of occurrence in April. For what seems like forever the team has taken its time to get into a groove, sacrificing April for torrid production later in the season. Imagine what the 2009 team would have looked like, for instance, if their April looked more like their August.

Photo credit: Charles Krupa/AP

Six wins in nine games represents quite a pace when extrapolated over a full season. That’s 108 wins, which would surely mean another AL East title. Of course, just because they hold a .667 winning percentage now doesn’t mean they’ll maintain it over the course of the season. April results, as we’ve seen over the past — well, forever — don’t necessarily correlate to how a team plays over the course of a season. That presents more of a concern for teams like Toronto, which stand little chance of contending.

The last time I can remember the Yankees getting off to a decent start was in 2006. In 2005, I’m sure you remember, the team got off to its infamous 11-19 start, prompting plenty of questions about the team’s moxie. That year they had played 15 games before they reached the six-win plateau. The next year went a bit better, but apparently the slow start in 05 left such a scar that my memory is willing to interpret a middling start as something positive. It took the Yankees 12 games to reach the 6-win mark. They actually played pretty much .500 ball through the first month.

I remember April 2007 very well. It was the month where Alex Rodriguez started to shed the choker tag, as he hit two walk-off home runs during the team’s first two home stands. Yet that team started off as a .500 team as well, losing Game 11 before winning their sixth game in Game 12. It was afterwards that they stumbled, losing eight of their next 11 games to finish April at 9-14. May was just as bad, and they finished that month 22-29 before becoming the hottest team in baseball the rest of the way.

(Just how hot? They finished 94-68, so from June 1 on they went 72-39, a .649 winning percentage. From July 1 on, though, they went 56-27, a .675 win percentage. So while they stanched the bleeding in June, they really started to lay into the league in July.)

Most of us remember 2008 as a total disaster, with the Yankees facing injury after injury in Joe Girardi‘s debut season. The Yankees actually didn’t start horribly, though they didn’t start great. As in 2006 and 2007 the team went 5-5 through 10 games, but in 2008 they won Game 11, earning them their sixth win. They then lost Game 12 to even their record again, before falling to 20-25 after Game 45. They did make a nice recovery, but there was little to get excited about that season, other than Joba throwing gas in the rotation for a couple of months.

Last season opened the same way, with the sixth win coming in Game 11 (and the sixth loss coming in Game 12). So when was the last time the Yankees got to their sixth win in Game 9 or better? I thought maybe 2004, but they pulled the same .500 jig that year, attaining six wins after Game 12. It was actually 2003 when they got off to a rapid start, going 18-3 over their first 21 games. That year they were 6-1, so they got to their sixth win even faster, in Game 7. The Yanks could certainly use a little 2003 this season. They won the AL East by six games that year.

From the purview of a six-month baseball season the Yankees’ hot start means little. We’ve seen teams get off to slow starts and win over 100 games. We’ve also seen teams get off to fast starts and crumble. After this off-season, however, it’s nice to see the team starting well. Not only does the team face heightened expectations after a World Series victory, but they also faced a bit of criticism by pulling a few fan-unfriendly moves. From what I’ve gathered, the average Yankees fan didn’t like the idea of replacing Matsui and Damon, and certainly, as demonstrated on Wednesday, did not approve the return of Javy Vazquez. The Yanks are doing their part to change the fans’ mindsets. A hot start oftentimes cures all.