Yanks rout A’s en route to fourth straight win

Despite their generally mediocre starting pitching and lack of Alex Rodriguez, the Yankees managed to reel off three straight wins coming into Tuesday’s game against the Athletics, and they wasted no time making sure it would be four in a row. The struck early and often with a loud offensive attack that featured homers, double steals, triples from unexpected sources, you name it. They had it all working tonight, which led to a rather easy 9-3 win.

(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

Biggest Hit: Swish Goes Boom

The Yanks showed no mercy to Jersey boy Vin Mazzaro, jumping all over him for three runs in the very first inning. The A’s battled back for a run in the third, but that’s when our beloved Bombers put their foot down. Mazzaro had been flirting with disaster all night, but they weren’t going to let him off the hook anymore.

Derek Jeter started the frame off with a groundout before Mark Teixeira singled over the shift with one out. That’s where he remained when Nick Swisher came to the plate two batters later with two outs in the inning. Mazzaro was mixing his curveball, changeup, and fastball all night, but nothing seemed to work for him. His first pitch curve dropped out of the zone for a ball, then a fastball and changeup sailed up and away for strikes two and three, respectively.

With his quieter and more, dare I say, professional setup at the plate, Swish has turned it loose five times with a 3-0 count this year, getting four hits including a double. Prior to this season, he’d gone after a 3-0 pitch just two times (!!!) in his career. That’s quite a difference. I remember Jorge Posada going deep on a 3-0 count a few weeks ago, so maybe this is a new team-wide philosophy. Anyway, you know what happened next. Swisher swung at Mazzaro’s 3-0 heater, and tomahawked it deep into the second deck in rightfield for a 5-1 lead. The homer improved the Yanks’ chances of winning by 13.4%, easily the most damaging hit of the game.

(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

Honorable Mention: Jorge Goes For Three

We don’t see it often, so when it happens, we’ve gotta mention it. Jorge Posada, whose speed is typically measured in fractions of the Molina scale, hit a triple in this game, the tenth of his career. It was hit first three bagger since April 26th of 2008, and overall the Yanks are 8-2 when he hits manages to hit one.

As you’d expect, it wasn’t a standard rip the ball into the gap and run it out triple, it was a deep fly ball to left that bounced off the top of the wall and away from leftfielder Jeff Larish. Posada slid into third as the ball scooted by Kevin Kouzmanoff for a run scoring triple that put the Yanks ahead by three in the first inning. That’s pretty much when you knew things were going to go New York’s way.

Inefficient Phil

(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

Much like his last start, Phil Hughes wasn’t at his best in this one, running up a high pitch count and hurting himself with walks. It wasn’t quite as bad as his outing against the Blue Jays, but then again the A’s aren’t as good as our neighbors to the north. Four of the nine batters to reach base against Hughes do so with two strikes, and overall they fouled off 19 pitches, eight with two strikes. He walked five guys on the night (just one strikeout), giving him ten total walks in his last two starts after walking just nine in his previous eight starts combined.

It was just five innings of work, but Phil needed 98 pitches to do it, and just 52 of those 98 pitches (53.1%) went for strikes. Maybe it’s just me, but Hughes definitely looks like he’s in a need of a little breather, he’s been laboring an awful lot of late. Perhaps the Yanks will skip his next start or two to give him a rest, maybe they’ll just wait until later in the month once they have a playoff spot clinched. Yeah, his previous career high is 146 innings, but that was four years ago. I wouldn’t be surprised if all the work this season was catching up to him.


(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

As you can imagine, there were several big performances offensively. Brett Gardner singled, walked, stole two bases, and scored a pair of runs. Teixeira had two hits including his 30th homer of the season. Curtis Granderson ran into one for his 15th homer of the season, his fifth since revamping his swing earlier this month. Ramiro Pena picked up yet another hit, and is now eight for his last 28, a more than respectable .286 batting average.

Speaking of Tex’s homer, the guy that caught it was Rob Iracane’s father. Rob’s been a friend of RAB for quite some time and one of the fellas behind the always entertaining Walkoff Walk. Cool little moment for them, glad they got some face time on YES.

Marcus Thames went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. He’s allowed to have one of these every once in a while. I guess.

Very quietly, Chad Gaudin had himself a nice little August. He threw three innings of one run ball tonight, pushing his ledger for the month to 13 innings, five runs, and ten strikeouts. Three of those five runs came in his last time out, so he was effective much more often than not over the last 31 days. The lone run in this game came on a seventh inning solo homer with the Yanks up by seven, excusable even by the strictest of standards.

Both the Rays and Red Sox lost, so the Yanks now have a one game lead in the division and an eight game lead on the Wild Card. Can’t complain about that. Nope, can’t complain at all.

WPA Graph & Box Score

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I love it when these things hug the Yanks’ side for four-plus innings. MLB.com has the box score and the video, FanGraphs the other stuff.

Up Next

Same two teams tomorrow night when A.J. Burnett tries to straighten himself out against personal fave Brett Anderson. With any luck, the Yanks will make it five in a row.

Varce dominates as Staten Island splits two

Just a heads up, the minor league season comes to an end next Monday (High-A Tampa and Short Season Staten Island finish up a day earlier). Triple-A Scranton and Double-A Trenton have already clinched playoff spots, and Tampa should do the same relatively soon. Low-A Charleston and SI are out of the race. Don’t be surprised if Bradley Suttle gets bumped up to Trenton for the playoffs with Rob Lyerly taking his place in Tampa. The Thunder have been missing a bat since Brandon Laird’s promotion. There will also be some pitching moves as well, starting today with George Kontos, John Van Benschoten, Bryan Mitchell, Freddy Lewis, and … wait for it … Pat Venditte!

Meanwhile, Jesus Montero, Eduardo Nunez, and Jon Albaladejo were named to the Triple-A International League end of season All Star Team, so congrats to those guys.

Triple-A Scranton (6-0 loss to Lehigh Valley)
Kevin Russo, 2B: 1 for 3, 1 2B, 1 BB, 1 CS – just seven for his last 28 (.250)
Greg Golson, CF & Jesus Montero, C: both 1 for 4 – Golson doubled & K’ed
Juan Miranda, 1B: 0 for 4
Jorge Vazquez, DH, Chad Huffman, LF & Eric Bruntlett, SS: all 0 for 3 – JoVa K’ed twice, Huffman & Bruntlett once
Colin Curtis, RF: 1 for 3 – threw a runner out at second
Brandon Laird, 3B: 0 for 2, 1 BB, 1 K – two for his last 28 (.071)
Lance Pendleton: 6 IP, 9 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 11-4 GB/FB – 60 of his 104 pitches were strikes (57.7%)
Zack Segovia: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 0-4 GB/FB – 23 of 34 pitches were strikes (67.6%)

[Read more…]

Yanks set to expand active roster

As the Yanks have wrapped play on August 31, they’ll soon have the option to expand their active roster to 40, and according to Chad Jennings, the team is going to take advantage of the added depth. The Journal News beat writer says that Greg Golson, Jonathan Albaladejo and Chad Moeller will be summoned to the big leagues. The remainder of the Scranton roster will have to take aim at the AAA title without its record-setting closer. Moeller’s promotion will require a 40-man move, but there’s a lot of dead weight on that thing right now.

In addition to these call-ups, the Yankees will activate Lance Berkman from the DL on Sept. 1st as well. Alfredo Aceves could rejoin the Yanks too, and A-Rod will be returned to us on Sunday once his 15-day stint is up as well. For now, Jesus Montero will remain at AAA.

Heyman: Yankees won claim for Ted Lilly

Via Jon Heyman, the Yankees recently won the waiver claim for Dodgers lefthander Ted Lilly. Team Torre pulled Lilly back, however, so he will not be traded to anyone, let alone the Bombers. Since the Yanks have the best record in baseball and thus are unable to block anyone, the fact that they claimed him indicates to me that they had sincere interest in acquiring him. Given the struggles of A.J. Burnett, Dustin Moseley, and Javy Vazquez, I can’t say I blame them, though I’m not confident with Lilly in the AL East. Oh well, moot point now anyway.

Game 132: Keep this train a-rollin’

Because these guys have, sadly, not been around much:

A wise man once said: “We won yesterday. If we win today, that’s two in a row. If we win tomorrow, that’s called a winning streak. It has happened before.” The Yanks haven’t had many winning streaks in August, but they’re on one right now thanks to a win last night. Now it’s time to keep that train a-rollin’ to four in a row.

Taking the hill for Oakland will be 23-year-old New Jersey native Vin Mazzaro. He’ll be making his third appearance against the Yankees tonight, and his second in front of the Yankee Stadium crowd. Last time he pitched here he allowed six runs in 4.1 innings. This year he’s been a bit better overall. Like Trevor Cahill, he seems to benefit a ton from the Oakland defense. His 3.61 ERA is quite a distance from his 4.59 FIP and 4.50 xFIP, and about a mile from his 5.07 tERA. Could we see the second night in a row of statistical correction?

Phil Hughes is coming off his worst start of the year, a 3.2-inning, 102-pitch effort in Toronto last week. He’ll look to get back into the six-inning groove tonight. We pay attention to Hughes’s starts because he’s good and has the potential to be better, but his starts are even more interesting now. He’ll enter uncharted innings territory tonight after just 1.2 innings, so it’s tough to know what to expect. I’m also curious to see if he ever plans to work in more curves and changes, or if he’s going to stick with his bread and butter, results be damned, for the rest of the season.


1. Brett Gardner, LF
2. Derek Jeter, SS
3. Mark Teixeira, 1B
4. Robinson Cano, 2B
5. Nick Swisher, RF
6. Jorge Posada, C
7. Marcus Thames, DH
8. Curtis Granderson, CF
9. Ramiro Pena, 3B

And on the mound, number sixty-five, Phil Hughes.

2010 Arizona Fall League rosters announced

Hard to believe that we’re already talking about the Arizona Fall League, but here we are. According to Frankie Piliere, the Yankees are sending Austin Romine, Brandon Laird, Corban Joseph, George Kontos, and Craig Heyer to the desert this year, with a few other roster spots still open. Pitching coordinator Nardi Contreras said the team was sending four pitchers (one starter and three relievers), so I presume those open spots are for the other pitchers.

Manny Banuelos, a logical candidate for an AzFL assignment because of his appendectomy, can’t play in the fall league because his winter ball rights are still controlled by his former team in Mexico. If anything, he’ll pitch for them.

Melky Mesa named Florida State League Player of the Year

With Melky Cabrera jettisoned to the Braves, Melky Mesa took over the crown as the best Melky in the organization, and he cemented that status by being named the Player of the Year in the High-A Florida State League today. This comes after Austin Romine took home the same award last year. The 23-year-old Mesa has a .351 wOBA in 505 plate appearances for High-A Tampa this year, and he’s a duel threat: he’s second in the league with 19 homers and fifth with 31 steals.

The book on Mesa has always been that he’s extremely talented but raw, with his greatest weakness being his inability to make consistent contact. He improved on that this year by bringing his strikeout rate down to 25.3% (it had been in the low-30’s the last few seasons), but needs to continue that improvement to have an impact in the big leagues. Regardless, congrats to him on the award.