Game 138: An Almost Perfect Lineup

(AP Photo/Gail Burton)

All they’re missing is Curtis Granderson, who’s getting a routine day off. Check it out…

Brett Gardner, CF
Derek Jeter, SS
Mark Teixeira, 1B
Alex Rodriguez, 3B
Robinson Cano, 2B
Nick Swisher, RF
Andruw Jones, LF
Russell Martin, C
Jesus Montero, DH

CC Sabathia, SP

First pitch is scheduled for a little after 1pm ET and can be seen on YES. Enjoy.

Rotation News: During his pregame press conference, Joe Girardi said a decision has been made about the rotation and that it will be announced after the game. He wants to make sure everyone involved knows what’s going on first. Feel free to speculate, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out who’s going to the bullpen.

Yanks come back again, win third straight

No Mariano Rivera, no Rafael Soriano, no Derek Jeter, no Mark Teixeira … no problem. The Yankees mounted a come from behind win against the Blue Jays for the second straight game on Saturday afternoon, and once again it was Robinson Cano with the big hit. To the bullet points…

  • It was a weird outing for Bartolo Colon. It started with him striking out the side in the first and ended with him retiring six of seven, but in between he allowed seven hits to 16 batters (.434). Two of those hits went over the fence (solo jacks by Adam Lind and Dewayne Wise), one of them hit the first base bag and deflected past a diving Nick Swisher, and another blooped into the triangle in right-center. Bart did throw a season-high 107 pitches, but he was still pumping gas late. Not a great outing, not a disaster. I guess “servicable” would be a good word.
  • The Yankees scored three runs in the second on an Eduardo Nunez single and a Frankie Cervelli two-run homer (no, really), but they were down 4-3 when Cano did his thing in the seventh. Ricky Romero hit Curtis Granderson in the back with a curveball before walking Alex Rodriguez on five pitches, all with two outs, then gave way to righty Casey Janssen. He got ahead 0-2 on Cano then nibbled a bit, eventually leaving a fastball right over the plate that Robbie drove into the right-center field gap for a two-run double. At +.390 WPA, it was a bigger hit than Russell Martin‘s two-run double in Fenway Park the other night and the fifth biggest hit of the season for New York (by WPA). Nick Swisher followed that up with a single for an insurance run.
  • Without Mo and Soriano, the closer’s job fell onto the shoulders of David Robertson. He went back to the days when men were men and closers threw more than one inning, running right through the middle of the order in the eight and then tacking on a scoreless ninth for the save, the third of his career. Honorable mention goes out to Boone Logan, who retired the only two men he faced (both lefties) to bridge the gap between Colon and D-Rob.
  • Brett Gardner seems to be snapping out of his slump and went 2-for-3 with a walk and two stolen bases in the game. A-Rod, Swisher, and Nunez each singled and walked, Andruw Jones doubled, and Cervelli had two hits (including his first career homer at Yankee Stadium, the other three came on the road) and saw a total of four pitches in four plate appearances. Jesus Montero picked up his first career knock, a routine little single to left. Pretty good day all around.
  • The Red Sox beat up on the Rangers, so the lead in the division stayed at one game in the loss column. The Rays also beat the Orioles, so the lead on the wildcard remained at 9.5. The magic number to clinch a playoff spot did drop by one by virtue of the win, and right now it’s sitting at Whitey Ford, number 16 in the sidebar. Here’s the box score, here’s the FanGraphs stuff, and here’s the standings.

The Yankees will look to complete the sweep on Sunday afternoon, when CC Sabathia goes against 2010 Yankees Killerâ„¢ Brett Cecil in another 1pm ET start. If you want to catch the game, RAB Tickets can help get you there.

Banuelos bombed in final start of regular season

Sorry folks, but time is a factor tonight…

  • Triple-A Scranton (lost). Kevin Russo, Ramiro Pena, and Jordan Parraz each had two knocks, and Mike Lamb hit a solo dinger. Manny Banuelos had a disaster start in his final regular season outing of the year (look at the Banuelos Watch in the sidebar), but George Kontos picked him up 3.1 scoreless. Hector Noesi tossed a scoreless frame as well, but Kevin Whelan blew it all in the eighth.
  • Double-A Trenton Game One (loss). Melky Mesa doubled and homered while Corban Joseph singled. Craig Heyer gave up nine runs in four innings, and Brad Halsey cleaned up the mess with two innings of one-run ball.
  • Double-A Trenton Game Two is tied and still being played. Zoilo Almonte has a double and a triple so far, and Mesa launched another homer. Here’s the box score.
  • High-A Tampa (loss). Abe Almonte’s 34-game hitting streak came to an end yesterday, but he got right back on the horse with three hits (two doubles) in this one. Ronnie Mustelier, Rob Segedin, Cody Johnson, and Mitch Abeita all had multiple knocks, the last two guys a double each. Nothing noteworthy on the mound.
  • Low-A Charleston (loss). Only three hits (all singles) on offense, and they belonged to Danny Lopez, Kevin Mahoney, and Kyle Higashioka. Manny Barreda gave up three runs in four innings, then Michael Recchia relieved him with five one-hit, shutout innings.
  • Short Season Staten Island (loss). Cito Culver had two hits, including a double, and Dante Bichette Jr. hit his first homer at this level. Mason Williams did not play, but Isaias Tejeda did and singled. Nothing terribly exciting on the mound.
  • The GCL Yankees won their league title last week and (obviously) the season is over.

Both Double-A Trenton and High-A Tampa were knocked out of postseason contention last night due to their losses and the results of other games around their leagues. That’s a shame, none of the four full season affiliates will be in the playoffs this year. Short Season Staten Island will be though, and they’ll begin their first round series with Brooklyn next Tuesday (best-of-three).

Open Thread: The Divisions of Yankees’ Earth

Dustin Parkes of Getting Blanked posted that illustration at Baseball Prospectus earlier this week, and I thought it was pretty neat and figured it would be good open thread fodder. I never got into Lord of the Rings or even Harry Potter for that matter. Haven’t read the books, haven’t seen the movies, nothing. I dunno, just not my cup of tea. But I know how immensely popular that stuff is, and I sure there are plenty of you that will enjoy the graphic. Posada’s Path made me literally laugh out loud (lol, to the youths out there).

Anyway, here is your open thread for the night. The Mets are playing the Nationals, and MLB Network is showing a game as well (teams depend on where you live). College football just started up too, didn’t it? I’m sure you can find some of that somewhere. Use the thread however you see fit, anything goes.

Jake Cave named top prospect in Coastal Plains League

Baseball America is in the process of publishing lists of the top ten prospects in each of the various wood bat summer leagues, and Yankees’ sixth rounder Jake Cave was given the top spot in the Coastal Plains League. Thankfully, the scouting reports for the top prospects in each league are available for free right here, so you can see Cave’s write-up without a subscription.

Cave, who signed on deadline day for $825k, received the second largest signing bonus given out by the Yankees this year. The high school outfielder from Virginia was playing with college players in the CPL, so it’s rather impressive that he ranked as the circuits top prospect. Granted, it’s not the Cape Cod League, but it’s still impressive. Cave was a legit prospect both in the outfield and on the mound as a left-hander, but the Yankees drafted him as a position player and that’s what he’s been working at in Tampa since signing.

Breaking down Curtis Granderson’s defense

Everyone knows what Curtis Granderson is doing with the bat this year, but no one really seems to know what to think of his defense. The defensive metrics say he’s one of the worst center fielders in baseball but that doesn’t really jive with the eye test. I don’t think he’s a Gold Glover, but I really have a hard time seeing him as any worse than average.

ESPN’s Mark Simon broke down Granderson’s defense and those advanced metrics a day or two ago, looking at how the systems work and also how they can pick up things we just can’t see by watching everyday. He also recapped Grandy’s six worst defensive plays of the season, and spoke to long-time scout to get some old school opinion. It gets RAB’s highest level of recommendation, so make sure you check it out. Great read and well worth your time.

Game 137: A-Rod’s back, again

(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

After missing all that time with the knee injury and then all that extra time with the thumb injury, Alex Rodriguez is back in the lineup and playing third base today. Oh, he’s also batting third for the first time since September 4th, 2008. Look who batted cleanup that day. Ay caramba. Here’s the lineup…

Brett Gardner, LF
Curtis Granderson, CF
Alex Rodriguez, 3B
Robinson Cano, 2B
Nick Swisher, 1B
Andruw Jones, RF
Jesus Montero, DH
Eduardo Nunez, SS
Frankie Cervelli, C

Bartolo Colon, SP

The game will start a little after 1pm ET, and you can watch on YES. Enjoy.