Vazquez excellent as Yanks take opener from A’s

Javy Vazquez‘s last trip to Oakland was his first good one of the year. While he didn’t make it out of the sixth, he did hold the A’s to one run in the first five innings. He appeared to run out of gas in the sixth, giving up two runs on a homer, though the Yankees had already scored six by then. This time around went even better, with Vazquez finishing seven innings and allowing just one run. The Yanks offense didn’t get much off of Ben Sheets, but it was enough to complete a 3-1 victory.

Biggest Hit: Tex widens the lead

Photo credit: Ben Margot/AP

Remember when Tex started May on a hot streak and everyone said hey, look, Teixeira’s back? It looks like it’s happening again. With a 1 for 4 night that included a home run, he is now 8 for his last 18 with three walks, four doubles, and a homer. So Tex is back. Until he isn’t.

Heading into the later innings the Yankees needed runs. They held a 2-1 lead, but with the way the bullpen has been struggling lately the Yanks can always use more runs. Unfortunately the offense has been slumping a bit. They did have a number of hard-hit balls off Sheets, but many of them found a fielder’s glove. Mark Teixeira had a solution to that problem.

With none on and one out in the sixth Ben Sheets got working against Tex with fastballs, mostly away. On the last one he caught a bit of the plate and Tex whaled it over the center field wall to extend the Yankees’ lead. It wasn’t much, but it provided the more-comfortable two-run lead.

Biggest Pitch: Vazquez quells the mini-rally

Photo credit: Ben Margot/AP

Javy Vazquez had one of his best starts of the season, despite the lack of strikeouts. The A’s did manage to put the ball in play, but few balls were particularly well-struck. As a result, they didn’t have many baserunners during Javy’s seven innings, just five. Only once did they put two men on base in the same inning, the fourth, when Jack Cust walked and then beat Derek Jeter‘s leaping throw to second. That put runners on first and second with two down.

Gabe Gross worked a 2-1 count, but then fell behind when he fouled off the next two pitches. With the count 2-2 Vazuez delivered a high fastball and Gross got on top of it, grounding it to Cano and ending the threat. That was the last time in the game the A’s would have a runner in scoring position.

Miscellany

Photo credit: Ben Margot/AP

Francisco Cervelli is a lucky dude. He made weak contact three times yesterday, and the one time it went for a hit was when the Yanks had a runner on third. Luck of the BABIP. I’ll take it.

Joba’s last seven innings: 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 8 K. That’s a pretty good start right there. I think we make too much of the times he does give up runs. Because, contrary to what 2007 Joba™ may lead you to believe, he’s going to do that from time to time.

With Mo having pitched in four of the first five days this month, I expect he’ll be unavailable tomorrow night. Gotta score runs against Cahill, which many a team has struggled at this year.

Oh hey, 2 for 3 with runners in scoring position.

Graph and chart

More at FanGraphs. Also, the box score.

Up Next

CC’s back on the mound to face the aforementioned Cahill. It’s Game 2 in the run of five straight 10 p.m. starts.

Miranda & Montero, the new M&M Boys

First of all, make sure you scroll down for tonight’s game thread.

Jim Callis provided a little info on some of the Yankees’ top minor league arms in this week’s Ask BA, including guys like David Phelps, Hector Noesi, Adam Warren, and Schaeffer Hall. So yeah, check it out. Meanwhile, Paul Bush has been released after a whole lotta injury trouble and Rene Rivera was demoted to Double-A Trenton just because the team needs another catcher while Austin Romine is away at the Futures Game.

Triple-A Scranton (9-5 win over Rochester)
Justin Christian, DH: 1 for 6, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 K
Reid Gorecki, CF & Reegie Corona, 2B: both 2 for 5 – Gorecki doubled … Corona tripled, scored twice & K’ed
Chad Huffman, LF: 1 for 5, 1 RBI, 1 K
Juan Miranda, 1B: 4 for 5, 2 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 E (throwing) – nine for 15 (.600) with a double & three homers since coming off the DL … seriously, get this man on a plane to Oakland
Jesus Montero, C: 1 for 3, 1 R, 2 BB – nine walks & four strikeouts in his last eight games
Jorge Vazquez, 3B: 2 for 4, 3 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI – second straight day with a bomb … his third in the last nine days
Eric Bruntlett, SS & Greg Golson, RF: both 1 for 4 – Bruntlett drove in a run … Golson doubled, walked, drove in two, K’ed twice & committed a fielding erro
Jason Hirsh: 4 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 4-2 GB/FB – 44 of 68 pitches were strikes (64.7%) … that’s about all he could give after working in relief for a few weeks
Romulo Sanchez: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 1-1 GB/FB – 15 of 26 pitches were strikes (57.7%) … shifted to relief in advance of a big league job … the thing with him will be strikes, if he’s throwing them, he’ll be very tough to hit
Eric Wordekemper: 1 IP, zeroes, 2-0 GB/FB – seven of his ten pitches were strikes
Boone Logan: 1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 1-0 GB/FB – 17 of his 24 pitches were strikes (68%)
Jon Albaladejo: 1 IP, zeroes, 1 K, 0-1 GB/FB – all six pitches were strikes

[Read more…]

Game 82: Three Sheets to the wind

Photo Credit: Ben Margot, AP

Ben Sheets, a personal fave, has not been good for the A’s this year, let my fantasy team tell you. His 4.98 ERA is backed by a 4.95 FIP, 4.53 xFIP, and 4.58 tRA. The strikeouts are down, the walks are up, and the fastball velocity is down, which is not a good mix at all. Safe to say that Oakland isn’t getting what they thought they would when they signed him to that $10M deal before the season. But hey, at least he’s stayed healthy.

Here’s the lineup…

Gardner, LF
Jeter, SS
Teixeira, 1B
A-Rod, 3B
Cano, 2B
Swisher, DH
Granderson, CF
Cervelli, C
Curtis, RF

And on the mound, Vazquez. Javy Vazquez.

The 1-2 of Gardner and Jeter isn’t permanent. Joe Girardi is just using Swisher to break up the lefties at the bottom of the order while Jorge Posada is out with his bum ring finger. Anyway, game starts at 10:05pm ET and can be seen on YES. Enjoy it, if you’re staying up.

Pettitte replaces Buchholz on All Star Game roster

Via Bryan Hoch, Andy Pettitte has replaced Clay Buchholz on the AL All Star Game roster because the latter has been placed on the disabled list with a hamstring issue. Joe Girardi had no say on this move since Buchholz was elected to the game by the player’s vote. The next highest vote getter simply took his spot, and it happened to be Pettitte. Girardi will have to name a replacement for CC Sabathia, who is scheduled to pitch on Sunday and is therefor ineligible to play in the game.

Pettitte makes seven Yankee All Stars, the most of any team. This will be his third trip to the mid-summer classic, and his first since 2001. Hard to believe that Pettitte has more top five finishes in the Cy Young voting than All Star Game appearances.

Aceves suffers another setback, Sanchez shifted to bullpen

Via Bryan Hoch, sorely missed reliever Al Aceves had a setback while throwing his bullpen session in Tampa today. He’s heading back to New York for even more tests. The epidurals are obviously not doing the trick, so it’s looking more and more likely that Ace will need to have surgery to fix that bulging disc in his back. Shame, getting him back and healthy was the best bullpen help the Yankees could have hoped for in the second half.

In what I am sure is completely related news, Romulo Sanchez was scratched from his start for Triple-A Scranton tonight, and has been moved to the bullpen to prepare him for his future as a big league reliever. Jason Hirsh takes his spot in SWB’s rotation. If it’s just a coincidence that the Romulo news broke right after the Aceves news, then that’s one hell of a coincidence.

Open Thread: Out west, yet again

Don't worry Alex, they still love you in Oakland. (Photo Credit: Marcio Jose Sanchez, AP)

The season is 81 games old, and the Yankees are making their third trip to the West Coast already. It’s nice to get it out of the way early, because the last thing tired bodies and a team in a division race needs in September is six hour flights and jet lag. It’s just these damn 10pm ET starts. Do you realize that between those four day games over the weekend and this road trip and the All Star break, the Yankees are going to go 14 days between 7pm ET starts? That’s nuts. Eh, so be it. Like I said, good to get these trips out of the way now.

Until tonight’s game thread rolls along, use this sucker as your open thread. The Mets are home against the Reds (Harang Travis Wood vs. Pelfrey), and the Braves and Phillies are on ESPN (Lowe vs. Halladay). Anything goes, have fun.

Yankee scouts watching Lee, but so what?

Over the next several weeks (including today), you’re going to hear a lot talk of about who has scouts watching who and what not, leading to trade speculation. Let me tell you right now that it doesn’t mean anything. The Yankees have their scouts watching Cliff Lee because a) they have to face him again in a few days, and b) because they’re going to have interest in him as a free agent after the season. They had people at basically every single one of CC Sabathia‘s starts in 2008 not because they were going to trade for him in the middle of the summer, but because they knew they were going to be major players for his services that winter and wanted to see what they were getting themselves into.

So yes, it’s a great narrative and it’s exciting to hear, but don’t read much into who the Yankees have scouts watching, at least not when it’s a guy like Cliff Lee. Chances are it’s just routine coverage.