American League’s worst offense again crushes Yanks

It’s one thing to have your pitching staff surrender seven runs in two consecutive games. It’s an altogether different issue when those 14 runs come off the bats of the league’s worst offense. At 3.45 runs per game entering last night, the Mariners sit with the Orioles as the only AL teams under four runs per game. Yes. They’re more than a half-run back from the No. 12 offense in the league. Yet they’ve managed to score 14 runs to the Yankees’ three.

You can’t predict baseball, but sometimes that fucking sucks.

Biggest Hit: Ha ha, very funny

Photo credit: Seth Wenig/AP

At 5.43 runs per game the Yankees rank second in the American League. Yet they have averaged 1.5 runs per game in the past two. It’s not much of a sample, and teams do slump. They were also facing two of the best pitchers in the league, Cliff Lee and Felix Hernandez. No, the Yanks didn’t get any big hits off Felix Hernandez. They threatened with a couple of doubles, but they never amounted to anything. Felix was too good. Most of the lineup was too bad. Either way, it amounted to two hits and no runs.

They had runners on the corner and two outs in the first, but Robinson Cano just missed a double. In the fourth Mark Teixeira led off with a double, but the Yankees couldn’t so much as move him to third. The next inning Colin Curtis hit a double with one out, but again the Yankees couldn’t do anything with it. Derek Jeter did hit one hard back up the middle, but it was right at Hernandez, who fell down fielding it but still made the play to first easily. That was it. Two walks in the first, one in the ninth, a double in the fourth, and another in the fifth.

It seems like the Yanks have done the “tip your hat to the pitcher” thing a few too many times this season, but in the past two games they can say it without embarrassment. Cliff Lee and Felix Hernandez are all-world pitchers. On a team with a bit more offensive prowess they would be the talk of the league. Hell, Lee is even without the aid of run support. Felix had one of those games where even a top offense will have fits. Mix in a few slumping players and it’s a two-hitter.

Biggest pitch: Didn’t matter

Photo credit: Seth Wenig/AP

When the opposing pitcher allows no runs it doesn’t matter what your own pitching does. What was bigger, the hit produced the only run they’d need, or the hit that gave them the level of comfort to think, “okay, three-run lead, this is over”? Milton Bradley got the job done with his second-inning homer, and Jose Lopez delivered the third run. Maybe you can even chalk it up to Russ Branyan, whose seventh-inning jack erased any remote comeback chances.

Not that Javy Vazquez pitched all that well. He did hold the Mariners scoreless for his final three innings, working out of a bases loaded jam in the fifth before retiring the side in order in the sixth. Also, given the nature of Bradley’s hit that set up Lopez’s RBI single, maybe those three earned runs are deceptive. After all, it’s not like Javy gave up a well-hit ball. But he did hit Branyan the batter before, which is no one’s fault but his own.

Furthermore, Vazquez ran up his pitch count early, which forced him from the game after six innings. That left the game in the hands of the Yanks bullpen, and we know how that unit has performed this year. Damaso Marte, who I wanted to see pitch more innings, basically ended the game when he hung a slider and Branyan did what any self-respecting lefty would have done. Hell, any self-respecting righty would have done the same. The pitch was just that fat.

Also, I hope everyone enjoyed Chad Gaudin’s final appearance in pinstripes. The only question left is of whether they announce his release when the reporters show up at 3, or if they wait until closer to game time to announce that he’s been replaced by Dustin Moseley?

Miscellany

Photo credit: Seth Wenig/AP

Teixeira has two doubles in the past two days. Unfortunately, those are the only two times he’s reached base.

That’s all I’ve got.

Graph and box

Avert your eyes, children. This graph may take on other forms.

More at FanGraphs. And, of course, the box score. I won’t even bother with the highlights.

Next Up

The Yanks draw the weakest pitcher on the Mariners staff, Ryan Rowland-Smith. That’ll be a nice break from Felix and Lee. He goes against CC Sabathia in the first of four games with 1 p.m. starts.

Dustin Moseley to join Yankees on Thursday

Via Mark Feinsand, righthander Dustin Moseley will be called up to join the Yankees sometime before Friday’s game against the Blue Jays. It’s unclear who will get the axe, but my money’s on Chad Gaudin, especially throwing 48 pitches tonight.

The 28-year-old Moseley would have been able to opt out of his minor league contract if he wasn’t added to the roster by July 1st, which of course is tomorrow. He put up a 4.21 ERA (~3.50 FIP) in a dozen Triple-A starts, generating his usual high percentage of ground balls (59.4%). In 168 IP spread over four seasons with the Angels, Moseley posted an unspectacular 4.61 xFIP. I don’t expect much out of him, but there’s no harm in seeing what he has to offer when we know all that Gaudin brings is mediocrity (at best).

Productive nights for all the top prospects

We have notes…

  • Grant Duff has been placed on the DL for an unknown reason, but it’s not surprising after he got rocked last time out. J.B. Cox takes his place on the roster.
  • Kevin Goldstein had a little something on Hector Noesi today (sub. req’d): “He doesn’t have a pitch that any scout would put a 60 on, but his fastball has average to plus movement with some cutting action, his curveball is solid, his change is good, and he absolutely pounds the strike zone and pitches without fear … It’s not a crazy high ceiling, but Noesi sure looks like a major-league starter and could be a nice trade chip in the coming month.”
  • Jesus Montero, Eduardo Nunez, and Jon Albaladejo were all named to the Triple-A International League All Star Team, so congrats to them.
  • Robert Pimpsner reported that 32nd round pick LHP Kramer Sneed has signed and will report to Short Season Staten Island tomorrow.

Triple-A Scranton (6-5 loss to Pawtucket)
Justin Christian, LF: 1 for 3, 1 R, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 1 K
Marcus Thames, DH: 1 for 4, 1 RBI, 1 K – obviously, he’s on a rehab assignment … all four at-bats came against lefties … singled after falling behind in the count 0-2 & working it back full … on the other hand, he had a 3-0 count later in the game, only to fly out on a broken bat after the count ran full
Jeff Natale, PH-DH: 1 for 1, 1 R, 2 RBI – took over once Thames got his four at-bats
Eduardo Nunez, SS: 0 for 4, 1 BB, 2 K – four for his last 23 (.174)
Jesus Montero, C: 1 for 5, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 K, 1 PB – ten for his last 26 (.385) with three doubles & two homers … I have to say, it’s good to see his AVG/OBP/SLG all go DOWN after a night like this, shows his numbers are back in the realm of respectability
Jorge Vazquez, 3B: 1 for 5, 1 2B, 2 K
Reid Gorecki, RF: 1 for 4, 1 R, 1 SB
Reegie Corona, 2B: 2 for 4, 1 R, 1 K, 1 SB
P.J. Pilittere, 1B: 0 for 3, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 E (fielding)
Greg Golson, CF: 2 for 4, 1 R, 1 2B, 2 K – still six for his last 33 (.182)
Romulo Sanchez: 5 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 4 BB, 4 K, 1 WP, 6-3 GB/FB – 52 of his 90 pitches were strikes (57.8%)
Jason Hirsh: 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 4-2 GB/FB – 30 of 44 pitches were strikes (68.2%)

[Read more…]

Game 77: The King is in town

Photo Credit: Elaine Thompson, AP

No, not that King. His time will come. I’m talking about King Felix, who will face the Yankees tonight as he tries to clinch a series victory for the Mariners. The Yanks have to stick with the same game plan as last night, jumping all over the first hittable pitch Felix gives them. If they get passive in an effort to drive up his pitch count, they’ll be staring at 0-2 counts all night.

Heeeeeeeeere’s the lineup…

Jeter, SS
Swisher, RF
Teixeira, 1B
A-Rod, 3B
Cano, 2B
Posada, DH – this really better not be an every day thing
Granderson, CF
Curtis, LF
Cervelli, C

And on the bump, they man they call Javy. Javy Vazquez.

It’s an absolutely gorgeous day for baseball in New York, and there’s no reason this one won’t start on time. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05pm ET, and can be seen on good ol’ YES. Enjoy.

2010 Draft: KLaw on Dan Burawa

Keith Law got a look at Yankees’ 12th round pick Daniel Burawa during his outing for the Harwich Mariners of the Cape Cod League last night, and wrote an absolutely glowing report about him (Insider req’d). He dubbed Burawa’s fastball as electric, noting that the St. John’s righty “sat 93-96, dipping below that just twice in his one inning of work” with “so much downward life that it often finishes below the zone.” KLaw also noted that Burawa has an upper-70’s curve that serves as a change-of-pace pitch, but otherwise “it’s a premium arm that would play pretty quickly in a late-game, one-inning role.” Like I’ve been saying, it’s clear the Yanks’ sought out guys with big time arm strength in this draft.

There’s reportedly five Yankee draftees playing on the Cape this summer, including Burawa, RHP Tommy Kahnle (5th round), and RHP Martin Viramontes (27th round).

Oppenheimer among the game’s best GM candidates

When we think of prospects, we usually think about players and minor leaguers. Of course, field personnel and front office executives can be considered prospects as well, for coaching and managerial positions. Will Carroll ran down a list of the ten best GM candidates in the game (sub. req’d), one of whom is Yankees’ scouting director Damon Oppenheimer.

“There’s really nothing left for Oppenheimer to prove with the Yankees,” said Carroll. “His staff has developed players who have come through and have been traded out. There’s the advantage of the big pockets, but with those big pockets comes big scrutiny … Since it doesn’t appear Brian Cashman is going anywhere soon—Cashman is younger than Oppenheimer—it appears that Oppenheimer will have to move on to get his shot, unless the Yankees pay GM-like money to keep him in place.”

I don’t know when Oppenheimer’s contract runs out, but teams will almost never block someone from making an upward move. I also don’t know who would replace him, but I imagine it would be someone from within. It’s never a bad thing when your top level executives are mentioned among the best GM candidates in the game, I do know that much.

Tickets available for tonight’s game

Kinda short notice, but a reader has two tickets available for tonight’s game. The seats are located in Row 13 of Section 414, and they’re going for $25 each. They can be emailed, making everyone’s life easier. If you’re interested, shoot me an email and I’ll put you in contact with the seller.

Update (5:17pm): The tickets have been claimed.