Mailbag: Sizemore, Posada, Maxwell, K-Rod

Extra long edition of the RAB Mailbag this week, so I tried to keep the answers as short as possible. I figure short answers and more questions if better than long answers and fewer questions. Anyway, if you want to send in a question, just use the Submit A Tip box in the sidebar.

(AP Photo/Paul Battaglia)

Mike asks: I know that starting pitching will be a priority but if Cleveland makes Grady Sizemore available this year should we go after him? What would he cost in terms of prospects?

Sizemore has been ridiculously good since coming off the disabled list (.390/.432/.878), but there are a few problems: 1) it’s a small sample, will it last?, b) Cleveland is actually good right now, I doubt they’re looking to sell right now, and c) you have to assume you’re only getting him for the rest of the year since his club option for 2012 becomes a player option if traded. He’s great and would be an upgrade over Brett Gardner in left, but the cost is likely to be greater than the return. Believe it or not, I’d rather rent Carlos Beltran than Sizemore, since the cost figures to be much lower.

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Yankee bats come alive, drop ChiSox 12-3

It can be tough to salvage a split of a four-game series after dropping the first two, but the Yankees had the right guy on the hill to do just that on Thursday. As it turned out, the offense made the pitching matchup a non-factor rather quickly, and the Yankees coasted to arguably their easiest win of the season.

Happy Swish is back. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

The Big Inning

After scoring a total of five runs (three on one swing) during the first three games of the series, it was painfully obvious that the Yankees were in a collective offensive funk. You don’t have to worry about that anymore. Not only did they hang a 12-spot on the ChiSox in this game, they scored six runs in a fifth inning that featured three Chicago pitchers and nine Yankees batters before an out was recorded. It went down like this…

  1. Brett Gardner solo homer (his third of the year)
  2. Eduardo Nunez double
  3. Curtis Granderson triple (one run scored)
  4. Nick Swisher single (one run scored)
  5. Robinson Cano single
  6. Alex Rodriguez double (one run scored)
  7. Eric Chavez intentionally walked (to load the bases with no outs!)
  8. Russell Martin single (one run scored)
  9. Jorge Posada walk (one run scored)
  10. Gardner strikeout
  11. Nunez pop out
  12. Granderson strikeout

The first four batters of the inning combined to hit for the cycle, which is pretty cool. Tony Pena, the second ChiSox pitcher, left the inning with elbow discomfort, so the Yankees literally did some damage to him. Everyone is happy with that inning, whether you like homers, patience, solid singles with men on base, hits with runners in scoring position, you name it. That big inning put New York up by eight runs, taking the stress off for the night.

Changeup! (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)


Lost in the offensive outburst was another gem of a start from CC Sabathia. The big guy gave his team seven strong and efficient innings, allowing just three unearned runs thanks more in part to some sloppy defense behind him than poor pitching on his part. He struck out six and walked one, boosting his season K/BB ratio to 3.27. It had been sub-3.00 in his first two season with the Yankees. Only twice did Sabathia need more than 15 pitches in an inning (23 pitch second, 19 pitch seventh), and he actually picked up some velocity as the game went along. I feel bad not writing more about his effort, but when he pitches well, there’s not much to say. Great job, CC.

(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Signs of Life

A few slumping players started to come around in this one. Nick Swisher ended a career high 0-for-19 stretch by going 3-for-4 with a walk and his first homer of the year. Brett Gardner went 2-for-3 with a walk, the homer, and a stolen base. Both Eduardo Nunez and Gustavo Molina picked up their first hits of the season as well. In fact, the bottom two hitters in the lineup combined to reach base six times and score six runs. The only guy that didn’t break out was Posada, who took an eyesore of an 0-for-4, though he did draw that bases loaded walk. His BABIP is down to .0698.


All in all, it was a great night and a great win in Yankeeland. Anytime Lance Pendleton can get two innings of work without me getting stressed out, something went right. I guess the two biggest complaints were on the defensive side of the ball. Eduardo Nunez committed a pair of errors, booting the first ground ball of the game and then throwing away another ball later on, leading to the three inherited runners. He’s had throwing problems not just dating back to last year, these go back to A-ball. Eric Chavez showed his inexperience playing first base by ranging too far to his right on two occasions, leaving first base unmanned. Thankfully the score rendered the four combined gaffs irrelevant.


Yankees’ starting pitchers in the last six games: 43.1 IP, 30 H, 9 R, 6 ER, 9 BB, 32 K, 58 GB, 41 FB. That’s a 1.25 ERA and a 0.90 WHIP. Sabathia started this string of great pitching last weekend in Baltimore, and he kept the train going on Thursday. Al Leiter said stuff like this is contagious, meaning no one in the rotation wants to be the guy that throws the first stinker. So yeah, keep it up fellas.

Edwin Jackson not only walked five of the 20 batters he faced, but he also ran a three-ball count on three other batters. Of his 91 pitches, just 49 (or 53.8%) were strikes. The Yankees wore him right down then took care of business against the soft underbelly of the bullpen. That’s how they roll.

I’ll be completely honest: I’m surprised that the Yankees managed to keep Adam Dunn in the yard during a four-game series. You’d think he would have lifted at least on ball into the jet stream and into the right field seats at some point. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining, just a little surprised.

WPA Graph & Box Score

Boring, just the way I like it. has your box score and video highlights, FanGraphs has everything else.

Up Next

Goodbye White Sox, hello Blue Jays. The AL East rivals come to town for a three game weekend series starting Friday night, when Freddy Garcia takes on Ricky Romero. If you want to head up to the Bronx to catch the game, check out all the dirt cheap tickets still available on the secondary market via RAB Tickets.

Millwood bombed, Montero returns in SWB loss

Update: The Low-A Charleston game is finally over and has been added to the post.

Triple-A Scranton (6-3 loss to Charlotte) brought the tying run to the plate in the ninth against an old buddy
Greg Golson, CF: 2 for 5, 1 RBI, 1 K – five for his last 15 (.333)
Frankie Cervelli, C: 0 for 4, 1 BB, 1 K – gotta figure he’ll be back soon
Jesus Montero, DH: 0 for 5, 4 K – tough day, but after that injury, he gets a free pass for the next few games
Jorge Vazquez, 1B: 2 for 4, 1 BB, 1 K – got a nice little nine game hit streak going
Chris Dickerson, CF: 1 for 4, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 SB
Justin Maxwell, LF: 0 for 3, 1 R, 1 BB – what, no homer?
Kevin Russo, 3B: 2 for 4, 1 R, 1 2B
Ramiro Pena, SS: 1 for 2, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 BB – that’s his second homer of the year, doubled the number he had in the big leagues over the last two years
Doug Bernier, 2B: 1 for 3, 1 2B, 1 BB, 1 K
Kevin Millwood, RHP: 2 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 0-1 GB/FB – 30 of 54 pitches were strikes (55.6%) … he needed to impress in this game to be considered for a call-up, and he didn’t do it, so that’s probably the end of Millwood’s Yankee career … I’d be surprised if the Yankees bring him up before his opt-out date on Sunday
D.J. Mitchell, RHP: 6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 2 WP, 1 HB, 7-6 GB/FB – 58 of 103 pitches were strikes (56.3%)

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Game 22: No Tex, no Cap’n

Won't see either of these guys tonight. (AP Photo/Gail Burton)

In the final game of this four game series against the Pale Hose, the Yankees are going to be without two of their key offensive players. Mark Teixeira is out of the lineup and is day-to-day with the same sore shoulder that took him out of last night’s game. It’s not a long term concern, but it’s always good to give guys an extra day of rest when they’re banged up this early in the season. Derek Jeter, on the other hand, is presumably out of the lineup just to get some rest. The Cap’n has eight hits in his last 20 at-bats to go along with three walks and just two strikeouts, so he’s starting to show some signs of life.

If the Yankees need to sacrifice offense in the name of good health, today is a good day to it. They have their ace on the mound, and the White Sox have Ramon Castro, Gordon Beckham, Brent Morel, and Brent Lillibridge batting in consecutive lineup spots. CC Sabathia is coming off a fantastic outing against the Orioles over the weekend, the game that started this run of excellent starting pitching. I’m sure the big guy will keep it going. Here’s the lineup…

Curtis Granderson, CF
Nick Swisher, RF
Robinson Cano, 2B
Alex Rodriguez, 3B
Eric Chavez, 1B
Russell Martin, C
Jorge Posada, DH
Brett Gardner, LF
Eduardo Nunez, SS

CC Sabathia, SP

The weather was anything but great in the Tri-State Area today, though it looks like it’s cleared enough to start the game on time and play it without interruption. You can watch on YES locally or MLB Network nationally. Enjoy.

Phil Hughes Update: St. Phil is going to visit a specialist in St. Louis on Monday to determine if he actually has Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. Brian Cashman compared the ongoing health saga to an episode of House, though hopefully not one of the new episodes that’s more about relationships than medicine. WTF is that about.

When Derek and Alex became BFFs again

To promote his upcoming book on Derek Jeter, Ian O’Connor has slowly been releasing the jucier excerpts for a public that enjoys baseball gossip. Over the weekend, we read about how Derek Jeter’s relationship with A-Rod went sour, and then we heard about Jeter’s contentious negotiations with the Yankees over his contract this past winter. It almost seemed as though O’Connor’s book was designed to knock down some myths about Jeter.

Worry not though for the latest installments do anything but that. ESPN New York today ran an extensive excerpt on the great thaw between Jeter and A-Rod and how the two became friends, thanks to Jeter’s magnanimity, as the Yankees were facing down the Twins, Angels and Phillies in October 2009. The not-so-subtle lesson O’Connor seems to imply is that Jeter’s decision to make nice with A-Rod contributed to the chemistry that led to the Yanks’ World Series win. And I always thought it was great pitching and an oppressive offense.

Meanwhile, I’ve gotten my hands on the four-page introduction to the book, and it’s, well, saccharine. O’Connor opens up with an anecdote from 2009 when John Hirschbeck, an umpire, defended Jeter after the Yankee captain blew up after a bad call at third base. It goes on to cite Jeter’s “common acts of decency” and how he is a “patron saint of clean players in an era defined by performance-enhancing drugs.” With an introduction like that, the rest of the book could just write itself.

Soriano turns to an old friend for help

It’s no secret that Rafael Soriano‘s first month in pinstripes has been … um … underwhelming, but the right-hander is trying to get himself back on track. As Dan Barbarisi of The Wall Street Journal writes, Soriano recently sought out the help of his best friend, his former co-closer in Atlanta Mike Gonzalez. After skipping out on reporters a few weeks ago, the first person Rafi called was Gonzalez, who basically told him if acts like Mariano Rivera, and he’ll be fine. The two had the dinner over the weekend in Baltimore to further talk about Soriano’s struggles.

“I feel fine, I feel comfortable with the team and everything,” said The Eighth Inning Guy™. “I just had a bad day…a bad month.” As frustrating as it’s been, Joe explained yesterday why we shouldn’t rush to call Soriano a failure just yet. His talent is obvious, as is the impact he could have on team’s chances of winning.

New design added to the RAB Shop

Yesterday we unveiled our new online shop, and we’ll be rolling out some new designs in the coming weeks. I added the Evolution design you see above this afternoon, which was designed by Tyler Wilkinson. Remember, you can customize the color and style of the shirt, or hell, you don’t need to buy a shirt at all. The logo is available on hoodies, clocks, bumper stickers, coffee mugs, tons of stuff. Click through and check it out.

Thanks in advance.