Open Thread: Success

(Photo Credit: Flickr user razvan.orendovici via Creative Commons license)

Given the starting pitching they faced, it’s impossible to consider this 6-3 west coast trip anything but a smashing success. It certainly wasn’t easy this afternoon, but all that matters is that it went into the win column. Beautiful. The Yankees get a much deserved day off now, and we’re just 24 hours from the draft. Yippee.

Anyway, here is tonight’s open thread. The ESPN Sunday Night Game is in CitiField for the Mets and Braves (Dickey vs. Hudson), and you’ve also got Game Three of the NBA Finals (8pm ET, ABC). You all know what to do by now, so have at it.

Game 57: End of the road (trip)

(Photo Credit: Flickr user Keith Allison via Creative Commons license)

Ten days later, the west coast road trip is over. Or at least will be once this game ends. The Yankees are guaranteed a winning trip after last night’s game, but boy does 6-3 look a whole lot better than 5-4. Here’s the starting nine…

Derek Jeter, SS
Curtis Granderson, CF
Mark Teixeira, 1B
Alex Rodriguez, 3B
Robinson Cano, 2B
Nick Swisher, RF
Jorge Posada, DH
Brett Gardner, LF
Frankie Cervelli, C

Bartolo Colon, SP

First pitch is scheduled for 3:35pm ET and can be seen on YES. Enjoy.

Rotation News: Joe Girardi announced before the game that Freddy Garcia, A.J. Burnett, and CC Sabathia will be his starters for the upcoming series against the Red Sox. Ivan Nova was scheduled to start the third game, but they’re using Monday’s off day to flip flop him with Sabathia. Good call.

High Socks For Hope: They’re going to show a segment on David Robertson‘s visit to his home town of Tuscaloosa following the recent tornado devastation. The High Socks For Hope website is up and running, and you can donate there if you want.

2011 Draft: Keith Law’s Latest Top 100 Prospects

Tomorrow’s the big day, so Keith Law posted his updated list of the top 100 draft prospects this weekend (Insider req’d). UCLA RHP Gerrit Cole will go first overall and occupies the top spot, unsurprisingly. The 51st overall player in the rankings is Oregon LHP Tyler Anderson, a guy with four pitches known more for his pitchability than his raw stuff. The Yankees don’t want the 51st best talent in the draft though, they’re hoping a top 20 guys falls, as we all should.

Considering Capps

As it stands, the Minnesota Twins’ odds of making the postseason currently stand around 1%. If you’re an astute student of baseball, mathematics and/or statistics, you might deduce that this is not good. Despite winning three games in a row, the Twins still sit at 20-37, 13.5 games back of the division leading Indians. Their fall from grace has been surprising. Virtually everything that could go wrong has gone wrong for this team. You want the litany? I’ll give you the litany. Their best pitcher, Francisco Liriano, has been horrific all year and has shoulder soreness now; their best player, Joe Mauer, has been on the disabled list for weeks; their star first baseman, Justin Morneau, has struggled out of the gate after missing half of 2010 with a concussion; their former closer, Joe Nathan, isn’t quite right after undergoing Tommy John surgery last spring and lost his job as closer; Delmon Young is hurt; several key prospects have struggled or gotten hurt; they demoted one of their best pitchers to the bullpen after some not-so-private feuding, and he is currently injured; their new second baseman had his leg broken on a slide by Nick Swisher; Jason Kubel is hurt; Jim Thome is hurt; it’s already the first week in June, and they just won their first series.

It’s been bad. Really, at this point, they should be looking to unload some of their assets and rebuild. While some have focused on some of their starting pitchers as trade targets, it might be interesting to key in on reliever Matt Capps as a trade target.

Capps was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the seventh round  of the 2002 draft and was a starter until 2005 when the Pirates converted him to the bullpen. Once he became a reliever he moved quickly through Pittsburgh’s system, going from A ball all the way to Triple A in one season, and even earning a September callup to the Pirates that year. Capps pitched a full year out of the Pirates pen in 2006, as a 22 year old, and did quite well. Rather than go through his performance year by year since then, I’ve created a little graph listing some relevant statistics that paint a good picture of the type of pitcher he is. These numbers are current through Friday.

Instead of focusing on fluctuations year to year, it’s probably wiser to take all 369.2 innings he’s thrown as a whole. He has a decent ERA and it’s backed up by strong DIPS numbers. He strikes out around 7 batters per 9 innings, not exactly elite for a reliever, but he doesn’t hand out many free passes at all. His K/BB ratio is excellent. Despite his 2010 mark he isn’t exactly a ground ball pitcher, a trait that would play well in Minnesota but perhaps less well in New York. Capps hasn’t had the best year so far in 2011. He’s blown a few games and his strikeout rate has dipped below 6. But it’s also worth noting that it’s only been 25 innings of work, hardly a meaningful sample size, and that his strand rate is well below what would be reasonable to expect going forward.

Capps is signed this year for $7.15 million and he becomes a free agent at the end of the season. By the time he’s traded he won’t cost the acquiring team more than a few million dollars in salary. The Yankees should kick the tires on him and consider bringing him aboard if the price isn’t too steep. Capps wouldn’t necessarily need to handle high leverage spots – Robertson and Chamberlain are doing fantastically – but he’d be the perfect type of reliever to soak up some of those lower-leverage appearances in which we see Robertson so frequently. Girardi has been good about keeping his guys fresh for October, but it would be nice to give him another quality arm to use in the dog days of the summer.

CC stymies the Angels, wins fourth straight start

In his last four starts, CC Sabathia has thrown 33.2 of 36 possible innings. The Yankees have won all four of those games, unsurprisingly. It’s the first time a Yankees’ starter has completed eight or more innings in four straight starts since David Cone in 1998. Dude’s a straight up beast. The Yankees won 3-2, and here’s the important stuff…

  • Robinson Cano got the Yankees on the board with a solo homer in the fourth, fouling off six pitches as part of a ten-pitch at-bat. Best of all, Torii Hunter jumped at the fence trying to catch the ball, but he instead landed on a fan. That’s what you see above.
  • Alex Rodriguez tacked on two all-important insurance runs with a two-run bomb in the sixth, a 93 mph fastball that leaked right over the plate. No fans were hurt in the making of that one.
  • As for the rest of the offense, both Derek Jeter and Curtis Granderson reached base twice (single and a walk for each), the slumping Brett Gardner had two singles, and Nick Swisher ripped an opposite field double off the wall. Everyone but Mark Teixeira and Russell Martin reached base at least once.
  • Sabathia was The Man™, allowing runs only when when his defense (coughJetercough) played a little sloppy behind him. The end result was 8.2 IP and two runs (one earned), which is as good as it gets. Mariano Rivera came in for the one pitch save, guaranteeing the Yankees a winning road trip. Good stuff.
  • Here’s the box score, and here’s the WPA graph.

Rubber game tomorrow afternoon, when former Angel Bartolo Colon and (possible future Yankee) Joel Pineiro square off at 3:35pm ET.


Sanchez returns in Charleston loss

Make sure you scroll down for tonight’s game thread. Also, Greg Golson’s hamstring is finally healed up, so he’s been activated off the disabled list.

Triple-A Scranton (7-3 loss to Toledo)
Greg Golson, CF, Jorge Vazquez, 1B & Jordan Parraz, RF: all 1 for 4 – Golson struck out twice … JoVa scored a run and struck out twice
Ramiro Pena, SS: 1 for 3, 1 2B, 1 BB, 2 K
Jesus Montero, C & Luis Nunez, 2B: both 0 for 4 – Montero struck out twice, Nunez once
Brandon Laird, 3B: 2 for 4, 2 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 K – that’s his third homer on the year, last year he had 11 on June 4th
Kevin Russo, 2B: 0 for 3, 1 BB, 2 K
Dan Brewer, LF: 2 for 4, 1 2B, 2 RBI
Adam Warren, RHP: 6 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 7-3 GB/FB – 60 of 93 pitxhes were strikes (64.5%) … it has definitely not been an easy go of it this year
Randy Flores, LHP: 2 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 3 WP, 0-2 GB/FB – 21 of 32 pitches were strikes (65.6%) … three wild pitches? sheesh
Kanekoa Texeira, RHP: 1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 K – 20 of 33 pitches were strikes (60.6%) … lowered his SWB ERA from 23.14 to 21.60

[Read more…]

Game 56: Bacck on tracck

(Photo Credit: Flickr user Jay?? via Creative Commons license)

The Angels took yesterday’s series opener, but that’s it. They don’t get anything else and CC Sabathia will make sure of that. Here’s the lineup…

Derek Jeter, SS
Curtis Granderson, CF
Mark Teixeira, 1B
Alex Rodriguez, 3B
Robinson Cano, 2B
Russell Martin, C
Nick Swisher, RF
Jorge Posada, DH
Brett Gardner, LF

CC Sabathia, SP

The game begins shortly after 9pm ET and can be seen on YES locally or MLB Network nationally. Enjoy.