Could Joba Chamberlain’s impending AAA stint simply be a tune-up for a Bronx appearance? The Daily News today has a notebook piece on some future plans for the Yanks’ young pitching stud. Brian Cashman and Joe Torre both seem to think that Chamberlain could make an impact in the Yanks’ beleaguered pen sooner rather than later. Yankee concerns over Joba’s health and trade deadline moves by the Yanks will probably be the deciding factors here. · (14) ·
Yankee fans will long hold Randy Johnson close to their hearts. His time in New York was filled with loving tenderness and great success. So as Luis Vizcaino puts up a sub-1.00 ERA over two months solidifying a shaky bullpen, Randy Johnson admits that he may never pitch again. That sure was a good trade. · (27) ·
Since I don’t feel much like writing cohesive paragraphs or sentences, we’ll do this the good-bad-ugly way.
The Good: Yanks score 7 runs in 1.2 innings. Robinson Cano draws three walks for the first time in his career. Johnny Damon, Derek Jeter and Bobby Abreu went a combined 8 for 16 with 4 runs scored, 3 RBI and 1 stolen base. The Yanks now find themselves 1.5 games behind the Mariners and 4.5 games behind Cleveland for the Wild Card lead. That’s four in the loss side for those keeping track at home.
The Ugly: The Yanks knock out 13 hits and draw 9 walks yet score just 9 runs. They really should have plated 15, but I’m just being greedy. Chien-Ming Wang threw just 60 percent of his pitches for strikes. A 9-4 game against the Royals took 4 hours and 1 minute to complete.
Time to wave good bye to Kei Igawa. Tonight at Scranton, Phil Hughes went six shut-out innings, giving up just 2 hits and 1 walk while striking out 7. He threw 54 of his 73 pitches for strikes, and Chad Jennings, in his excellent SW-B Yankees blog, notes that Hughes looked great. Hughes will make one more start to push it to 100 pitches before returning to the Bronx. Side note: Joba starts later today for AAA and Kennedy is set for Saturday, the day after Jeff Karsten’s next rehab appearance. · (6) ·
The rehabbing Phil Hughes hit his stride today, pitching out of a bases loaded and nobody out situation in the 5th. Check out this post for more on Hughes’ start. Meanwhile the rest of the system didn’t knock down the fences tonight. Courtesy, yet again, of Alan Hirsch:
Scranton (def. Louisville 4-0)
Justin Christian 1-3 2B, RBI
Eurbiel Durazo 2-3, 2B, R, RBI, BB
Chris Basek 1-4, 2B, R, K
Eric Duncan 1-4 RBI
Philip Hughes 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 7 K – Whoâ€™s going to drive Igawa to Scranton? (Ben’s note: He’ll hitchhike. The Yanks have already wasted enough on him.)
Steven White 3 IP, 0 H, 0 BB, 1 K
Trenton (Erie downs Trenton 12-1)
Only 4 hits by Trenton
Juan Miranda 1-3, 2B
Kevin Whelan 2.1 IP, 3 H, 5 ER, 6 BB, 1 K – Not a good debut after his promotion
Steven Jackson 2 H, 4 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 0 K – Terrible debut after being demoted.
Tampa (Clearwater def. Tampa 7-2)
Reggie Corona 1-5 2B
Austin Jackson 0-5, K – Threw out a runner at 2nd. Average plummets to .359
Jose Tabata 1-3, RBI, BB, K
Tim Battle 1-3, R, BB, K
Phil Coke 4 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, 2 wild pitches
Charleston (Asheville over Charleston 4-1)
Mitch Hilligoss 1-3, 2B, RBI
Seth Fortenberry 0-4
Josue Calzado 0-4
Kyle Anson 3-4
Ivan â€˜Chevyâ€™ Nova 5 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K
Jessie Hoover 1.2 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 K
GCL Yanks (4-3 Yanks def. GCL Blue Jays)
Abe Almonte 4-5, HR – Maybe this will get the highly touted Abraham going.
Zolio Almonte 2-4 3B, R
Jesus Montero (DH) 1-3. RBI, BB, K.
Andres Perez 2-4
Jairo Heredia, 5 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 1.82 ERA overall – Jairo continues to roll.
While everyone is salivating over the thought of Mark Teixeira in pinstripes, I don’t think the Yanks are going to make a big trade this July 31st. They aren’t going to trade one of their blue-chip young pitchers, and they get back a pitcher from the DL – Phil Hughes – who is better than anyone available via a trade. The Yanks’ offense doesn’t need help; the pitching has been solid lately. Maybe we’ll see a bullpen move, but nothing major.
As the Yanks stand now, they’ve scored a whopping 555 runs, second only to the Tigers, and have allowed 443. Their +112 run differential, second overall in the Majors, is just one worse than the Red Sox’s +113. Based on their Pythagorean Record, the Yanks should be 60-38. Instead, they’re 52-46, a whopping eight games worse than expected. That Pythagoras is a real bitch, no?
As the Yanks have gone 10-3 since the All Star Break, they’ve emerged as a good team, and it’s in this run differential that we can see why the Yanks have a great shot at the playoffs. Let’s look at the contenders. The Red Sox and Tigers are legitimate playoff teams. Great offenses and great pitching will deliver an October berth. The Angels will probably make it because someone needs to win the West.
So that leaves us with the Indians, Mariners, Yankees and Twins as the only other AL teams over .500. The Mariners are playing through smoke and mirrors. They’ve scored 467 and have given up 464. They are outplaying their 48-48 record. The 2007 Mariners are better than recent Mariners’ teams, but I wouldn’t peg them much above 85 wins.
The Twins have a run differential of +40 but a record putting them just 2 games above .500. Like the Yanks, they are underperforming this season. I think they’ll end up with 87-89 wins.
The Indians are outperforming their record. They’ve given up 528 runs and have scored 472. They should be 55-44 but are instead 58-41. They lead the Mariners by 2.5 and the Yankees by 5.5. Based on numbers alone, the Yanks’ and Indians’ roles should be reversed with the Yanks 5.5 games up on the Indians instead of the other way around.
And that’s why I’m growing more and more confident each day that the Yanks can make an exciting run toward October. They have the offense; they have the pitching. Now, it’s just a matter of overcoming eight games of bad luck and poor bullpen management.
The Yanks are 8-15 in one-run games. Better relief management would have given them a few more wins there. Even going 11-12 in one-run games would put them in the thick of both the Wild Card hunt and the AL East race, and right now, that’s where this team is heading. But can they overcome that eight game difference? That’ll be the real question as we had down the stretch.
Lots of prospects on the move yesterday, as Ed Price of The Star-Ledger reported.
The Yanks sent the struggling duo of Chase Wright and Tyler Clippard back down to AA Trenton. Neither had been pitching well at AAA after struggling in the Bronx earlier this season. They’ll both have to overcome a bit of adversity to come back to the Bigs. I think Clippard’s best use right now is a trade chip.
But more important were the call ups. Both Joba Chamberlain and Ian Kennedy, two young hurlers who started the season at A ball, were sent up to Scranton to fill those two roster spots. Are the Yanks eying September call ups for one or both? Will Joba really be tagged for a bullpen spot in the Bronx in a few weeks?
Only time will tell, but this is an exciting time for the two best arms outside of Phil Hughes (and possibly the injured Humberto Sanchez) in the Yankee organization. The right players on the way up.
Meanwhile, in other news, Steven Jackson is headed from AAA to AA, Kevin Whelan from A to AA, and Brett Smith, who’s been pretty decent, is heading to A from AA. Big moves all around.
The Yanks win. No one else does. Demotion news to follow. Again, courtesy of Mr. Hirsch:
Scranton Rained Out (Note by Ben: This was supposed to be a Phil Hughes rehab start. He’ll go today instead. Last night’s YES broadcast and recent comments by Brian Cashman make it sound as though Hughes will be slotted into Kei Igawa’s spot as soon as he’s ready. That’s fantastic news.)
Tampa (Clearwater def Tampa 7-1)
Reggie Corona 0-4, 2 throwing errors
Austin Jackson 1-3, R, K
Jose Tabata 1-4
Tim Battle 2-3, R
Francisco Cervelli 1-3, 2B, K
Kevin Russo 0-3
Marcos Veccionacchi 0-4
Mike Martinez 4 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 1 K. Ran out of starters with all the doubleheaders
Zach Kroenke 3 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 K
Charleston (Ashville def Charleston 6-1)
Mitch Hilligoss 0-4
Seth Fortenberry 2-4, 2K
Josue Calzado 1-4, 2B
Joseph Muich 2-4, HR
Grant Duff 4.2 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 6 BB, 5 K, HR
Staten Island Scheduled day off
GCL Yanks (GCL Indians def GCL Yanks 10-6)
Phrylis Cuello 0-5
Zolio Almonte 3-5, K
Brandon Laird 2-5, R
Jesus Montero (C) 2-3, R, BB, Not a great game behind the plate with a passed ball, and one stolen base against him.
Andres Perez 2-4, R, BB
Kelvin Castro 2-4, 2B, 3 RBI
Gerardo Rodriquez 1-3, HR, 3 RBI
Kelvin Perez 3.1 IP, 6 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 3 K
Dickson Marquez 4 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K