Game 90: Gotta get down with Freddy

(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

I hate myself for that title. Here’s the lineup…

Derek Jeter, SS
Curtis Granderson, CF
Mark Teixeira, 1B
Robinson Cano, 2B
Nick Swisher, RF
Jorge Posada, DH
Russell Martin, C
Brett Gardner, LF
Eduardo Nunez, 3B

Freddy Garcia, SP

The game starts a little after 7pm ET and can be seen on My9 locally or MLB Network nationally. Enjoy.

Joey Bats Update: Blue Jays manager John Farrell told reporters before today’s game that Jose Bautista is likely to miss the rest of the series after twisting his ankle last night. “Optimistically Sunday, realistically Tuesday,” he said. That’s unfortunate, you know. It really is. Such a shame. Like is so unfair.

Rothschild: Colon not hurt, just apprehensive

Via Andrew Marchand, pitching coach Larry Rothschild said that Bartolo Colon‘s hamstring is healthy, but the right-hander is still apprehensive about re-aggravating the injury. It was pretty obvious that Colon wasn’t 100% last night, he wasn’t moving well and it didn’t look like he was pushing off with his usual effort. This is something that he really should have gotten over with a rehab start, and unfortunately bringing players back from injury too soon has become something of a pattern for the Yankees. Remember Chien-Ming Wang in 2009 (hurried back after Joba Chamberlain took a line drive off his leg), Colon, possibly Phil Hughes

Rockies have been scouting Yankees’ farm system

Via George King, the Rockies have been scouting the Yankees Triple-A and Double-A affiliates recently, and are said to be high on (who else?) Jesus Montero, Dellin Betances, and Manny Banuelos. Colorado has interest in Montero as a first baseman, not a catcher. The Yankees, meanwhile, are telling teams those three are untouchable, but that’s not surprising. New York was one of 17 teams on hand to scout Ubaldo Jimenez last night, when he held the Brewers to two runs in six innings. And so it begins…

Carroll: Oppenheimer a top GM prospect

Yankees’ scouting director Damon Oppenheimer has been mentioned as a GM candidate for the last few years now, and even moreso these days as we approach the end of Brian Cashman‘s latest contract. Will Carroll recently put together a list of the ten best GM prospects in the game, and Oppenheimer made the cut. Allow me to excerpt…

… several think pushing 50 might work against Oppenheimer. He’s hardly “too old,” but Oppenheimer will have it work against him in what is quickly becoming a young man’s job. The hours required, the time away from home and family, and the pay all conspire against the more established people.

[snip]

Oppenheimer, like [White Sox assistant GM Rick Hahn], is often thought to be “in waiting” — not pushing Brian Cashman out the door, but in position to have the biggest chair in all of baseball …  “The thing you wonder,” said one AL exec, “is whether he really wants the job or is willing to keep doing the job he’s doing forever. He’s great and he’d be a great GM, but someone’s going to have to want him specifically.”

The Diamondbacks wanted to speak to Oppenheimer about their GM opening during the winter, but the Yankees denied them permission to do so. That’s a pretty good indication that, at the very least, they’re pleased with his work as scouting director and don’t want to lose him to another club. There’s also a pretty good chance that it means they have some kind of long-term plan for him. Speculate at your own risk.

I’ve already written about the front office and how I hope there is some kind of change this offseason, but it’s not like I want Cashman to go or anything like that. Quite the opposite, actually. I think promoting Oppenheimer to assistant GM would be a fine first step towards restructuring the front office somewhat, hopefully creating some kind of continuity between executives. Think Mark Shapiro and Chris Antonetti with the Indians. When the former was promoted to team president, the latter stepped right in with no growing pains. It was basically a lateral move and a change of job title, that’s it. Anyway, I could ramble about this stuff for hours, but it’s good to see that Oppenheimer is respected around the league and considered one of best future GM candidates.

The RAB Radio Show: July 15, 2011

As we near the deadline the conversation is going to lean largely towards the improvements the Yankees can make. Today on the show, Mike and I discuss:

  • Ubaldo Jimenez, ideal candidate.

  • Ryan Dempster, underrated for various reasons, overrated for others.
  • Chicago’s slew of starters, stubbornly stuck on the South Side.
  • Eduardo Nunez, perhaps not the best month-long A-Rod replacement.
  • Your mailbag questions, answered.

Podcast run time 52:23

Here’s how you can listen to podcast:

  • Download the RAB Radio Show by right clicking on that link and choosing Save As.
  • Listen in your browser by left clicking the above link or using the embedded player below.
  • Subscribe in iTunes. If you want to rate us that would be great. If you leave a nice review I’ll buy you a beer at a meet-up.
[audio:http://riveraveblues.com/podcasts/TheRABRadioShow071511.mp3]

Intro music: “Die Hard” courtesy of reader Alex Kresovich. Thanks to Tyler Wilkinson for the graphic.

Checking in on CC Sabathia’s workload

(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

Now two and a half years into his seven three-year contract, it’s pretty safe to say that CC Sabathia has been everything the Yankees hoped he would be when he came to New York, if not more. He’s been the bonafide, no doubt about it, dominant number one starter the team hadn’t had since Mike Mussina was in his heyday (2001-2003 or so), plus he’s reportedly great in the clubhouse and in the community. There’s nothing not to like.

Sabathia has also been a workhorse of the first order, topping 230 IP in each of his first two season in pinstripes. That’s nothing new for him, the last time CC fell short of the 230 IP plateau in a season was 2006. He hasn’t thrown fewer than 195 IP in a season since 2004, or fewer than 180 IP ever. There’s no doubt about it, the guy hasn’t met an inning he won’t eat. Sabathia has thrown 145.2 IP in his 20 starts this year, so let’s compare that workload to the last few years…

Obviously, he’s ahead of the pace he’s set the last few seasons by quite a bit, anywhere from five to ten innings. Assuming he gets to 34 starts again, Sabathia is on pace to throw 247.2 IP this season, his most in three years and second most ever. That’s a bit of a concern because the Yankees don’t plan on seeing their season end in late-September, they’re hoping for a deep playoff run in which Sabathia throws another 40 innings or so in the postseason. That’s quite a bit. Of course, not all innings are created equal, so let’s look at the number of pitches he’s thrown…

Again, CC is ahead of the pace he’s set the last few years. Extrapolated out to 34 starts, Sabathia is on pace to throw 3,679 pitches in 2011, his second most ever. Just six pitchers (including 2008 Sabathia) have thrown that many pitches in a single season over the last five years (Livan Hernandez, Justin Verlander, and Barry Zito have each done it twice). I have no doubt that CC could physically throw all those pitches if needed, but that doesn’t mean I (or the team) want him too.

The Yankees had the luxury of taking their foot off the gas with all their starters in 2009 because of their huge division and wildcard lead; each of Sabathia’s last four starts that year were on at least six days of rest. They really couldn’t do that last year and there’s a pretty good chance they won’t be able to this year. That’s why the bullpen, and Rafael Soriano in particular, are going to be important down the stretch. They have to lighten the load on the starters, giving Joe Girardi a viable alternative to Sabathia at 100+ pitches in the seventh or eighth inning. The Yankees are very clearly in win now mode, but part of winning now is giving their top starter a little bit of a breather here and there so he’s 100% ready to go in late-September and October.