Burnett solid again as Yanks complete sweep

This game followed a pleasant arc. It started off frustrating, with the Yankees loading the bases with one out in the first only to squander the situation. They then blew a first and second situation in the second, so it started to feel like one of those games. That the A’s jumped out to a 1-0 lead didn’t help. But from the fourth inning on everything went smoothly. They did strand a few more baserunners, but with the lead already in hand and Good A.J. on the mound it didn’t really matter. The Yanks easily completed the sweep with a 6-2 win.

Biggest Hit: Teixeira caps the rally

Photo credit: Ben Margot/AP

The Yanks had a few chances in the first three innings to put some runs on the board against Gio Gonzalez, but stranded all their runners each time. In the first it was the bases loaded and one out followed by two strikeouts. In the second both Brett Gardner and Ramiro Pena singled with one out, but Jeter killed them with a double play. In the third Swisher led off with a double, took third on a fly ball, and watched as A-Rod and Jorge struck out. Opportunities with runners in scoring position: seven. Yankee runs: zero.

Even in the fourth it seemed like more of the same. Marcus Thames opened the inning with a single, but Francisco grounded one to Mark Ellis and ruined it. But then Brett Gardner drew a six-pitch walk. WIth Pena up he swiped second, and then scored to tie the game when Ramiro Pena singled. A wild pitch and a Derek Jeter single gave the Yankees the lead. Nick Swisher followed that with a walk, putting two on with two out for Teixeira.

It took just one pitch for him to open up the game. Gonzalez dealt a 92 mph fastball that got neither down enough nor away enough. Tex hit it deep to center, clearing the wall and giving the Yankees a 5-1 lead. It’s the second straight game in which a middle of the order bat came through with a game-changing home run.

Biggest Pitch: Crisp gives the A’s a lead

Photo credit: Ben Margot/AP

He looked like Good A.J. right from the beginning. Through two innings A.J. Burnett had retired all six batters he faced, two on swinging strikeouts. With two outs in the third he had thrown just 32 pitches. But then he walked Cliff Pennington and let him steal second. Coco Crisp followed that with a single to give the A’s an early lead. It was no biggie, though. Burnett got Daric Barton to end the frame.

A half inning later the Yanks gave Burnett a big lead, and he never put it in question. He struck out only one more and allowed five more baserunners, but the A’s weren’t making great contact. Of the 13 balls the A’s put in play from the fourth through the seventh, eight were on the ground, and two were pop ups. It would have been nice to see some more strikeouts, but all considered it was a second straight good start for Burnett.

Most surprisingly, Burnett threw nine changeups. He didn’t generate any swinging strikes, but he did throw it six times for a strike. He said he started throwing it more last game. I’m not sure it’s a difference maker, but it sure hasn’t hurt.

Speaking of difference makers, between innings the YES cameras showed Burnett palling around with Dave Eiland. Of course they did. It’s a story. Causation? Maybe. Certainly can’t rule it out. It’s just so odd that a 33-year-old pitcher would completely fall apart without the pitching coach he’s had for just a year and a few months out of a 12-year career.

Swish makes the case

Photo credit: Ben Margot/AP

There’s been plenty of campaigning to Send Swish to the All-Star game. A 3 for 4 night with a walk, a double, and a homer helps his case for sure. Not as much as the ballot stuffers, of course, but it helped nonetheless. He got a chance to do even more damage in his last at-bat, but ended up flying weakly to center on what appeared to be a hittable pitch.

All-Star game or not, Swish has had a hell of a first half. He’s hitting .299 right now, which is significantly above his career average. He’ll need to go 6 for 16 this weekend against Seattle to head into the break with a .300 batting average.


It was a good idea to get Marcus Thames out of the field when Gonzalez came out of the game, but damn, Curtis Granderson really isn’t doing anything. The Yanks will face three lefties this weekend, and I figure Granderson will play. It’s not like he’s hitting righties much better right now.

After a pair of homers last night A-Rod was the only starter without a hit last night. He did, however, manage to look foolish while falling down on a misjudged foul pop.

The team was just 3 for 13 with runners in scoring position, but when one of those is a three-run home run it’ll do.

That makes it five straight for the Yanks with four left until the break.

Graph and chart

Box and graphs.

Next Up

The Yanks move northward to Seattle, with Andy Pettitte going against Jason Vargas in the fourth of the six straight 10 p.m. starts.

Miranda’s hot streak continues in SWB win

Make sure you scroll down for tonight’s game thread.

Both Kelvin Duran (“65 runner with true centerfield skills and a bit of pop out of a smallish frame; a sleeper worth watching”) and Corban Joseph (“showing impressive power and patience”) got some love in Kevin Goldstein’s Minor League Update today (sub. req’d). KG also said that Adam Warren has been sitting “91-94 comfortably” this year, calling him a “solid No. 4. projection, maybe a bit more.”

Triple-A Scranton (7-2 win over Rochester)
Reid Gorecki, CF: 0 for 4, 1 BB, 2 K
Reegie Corona, 2B: 0 for 5
Eduardo Nunez, 3B: 1 for 3, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 BB, 1 HBP – the pitch got him in the left wrist, but he stayed in the game
Juan Miranda, 1B: 3 for 4, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB – the walk was intentional … 13 for 23 (.565) with three doubles & four homers since coming off the DL … call him up, pls
Jesus Montero, C: 2 for 4, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 PB – he was walked intentionally too … 4-10 K/BB ratio in his last nine games
Jorge Vazquez, DH: 1 for 5, 1 2B, 3 RBI, 1 K
Chad Huffman, RF, Eric Bruntlett, SS & Justin Christian, LF: all 1 for 4 – Huffman doubled, scored & threw a runner out at second … Bruntlett scored & committed a fielding error
David Phelps: 6 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 10-2 GB/FB – 63 of his 95 pitches were strikes (66.3%) … 22-3 GB/FB ratio in his two starts with SWB
Mark Melancon: 2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 0-3 GB/FB – 19 of 39 pitches were strikes (48.7%) … man, what the hell is going on here?
Zach Segovia:1 IP, zeroes, 1 K, 0-1 GB/FB – eight of his ten pitches were strikes

[Read more…]

Game 84: So long, California

Photo Credit: Ben Margot, AP

With the exception of next week’s All Star Game, the only way the Yankees are going back to California this year is in the playoffs. You gotta love getting this games over for selfish reasons, meaning no more of these damn 10pm ET start times. By this time next week, it’ll all be over with.

The Yanks already have this series in the bag and are essentially playing with house money tonight, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a big start for A.J. Burnett. The enigmatic righthander started to right the ship last time out following a dreadful June, but he’s not out of the woods yet. The A’s hardly have a powerhouse offense, so tonight gives A.J. a chance to build some confidence and hopefully start a mid-summer streak like the one that saw him go 8-2 with a 2.08 ERA and .209/.316/.308 batting line against last year.

Here’s tonight’s starting nine, which gets really ugly after the top five…

Jeter, SS
Swisher, RF
Teixeira, 1B
A-Rod, 3B
Posada, DH
Thames, LF
Cervelli, C
Gardner, CF
Pena, 2B

And on the mound, it’s A.J. Burnett.

Another 10:05pm ET start, with YES carrying to broadcast. Enjoy.

Open Thread: One more day to Send Swish!

We’re now into Day Three of the Final Vote balloting, and Nick Swisher has regained the lead over Kevin Youkilis in this back-and-forth affair for the final roster spot on the AL All Star Team. That doesn’t mean Swish doesn’t need your help anymore, he only leads by less than one percentage point. You’ve got until 4pm ET to vote as many times as possible for the Yanks’ rightfielder, so make sure you do it and get an eighth Yankee in Anaheim next week. Here’s the ballot.

Once you’ve voted a few hundred times, use this as your open thread until the game thread comes along a little later. The Met are playing the Reds, and you can laugh along at either SNY or ESPN. Talk about anything – I hear NBA free agency is the cool thing with the kids – just don’t be a jerk.

A-Rod, Pettitte to appear at anti-PED fundraiser

As Major League Baseball’s PED story is one that never goes away, current players who have come clean about their drug use are working to rehabilitate their images. To that end, both Alex Rodriguez and Andy Pettitte will appear at an anti-PED fundraiser at Yankee Stadium next month. The event will benefit at Taylor Hooton Foundation, an organization that works to combat steroid use among teenagers.

Almost hand in hand with this appearance is renewed attention on A-Rod due to his rapid approaching the 600-home run plateau. A-Rod will hit the milestone round-tripper sometime over the next week or so, and when he does, he’ll join a very exclusive club. In 12 years or so, Alex will be up for Cooperstown consideration, and although the PED cloud may linger, David Pinto believes that A-Rod has a very convincing case for enshrinement notwithstanding the drug scandal. I tend to agree. A-Rod should be in the Hall when the time comes.

Another rumor about the Yanks looking for bench help

Via Buster Olney, the Yankees are focusing on “adding a veteran who is capable of playing third adequately, while adding punch … somebody who would provide depth at third in case A-Rod got hurt, but could play other positions.” In other words, a quality utility player. Olney mentions the name Ty Wigginton, which is certainly nothing new.

Just looking around the league for some new names, how about this one: Andy LaRoche. He can play every infield spot but shortstop, and has even dabbled in the corner outfield at times. Golden boy Pedro Alvarez has already been handed LaRoche’s job, but here’s a 26-year-old with double digit homerun power and an above average walk rate (9.4% career) about to enter his arbitration years. If nothing else, he’s a more interesting option than the usual veteran has-beens.

Cano withdraws from Home Run Derby with minor back injury

Via Mark Feinsand, Yankees’ second baseman Robbie Cano has withdrawn from next week’s Home Run Derby citing a minor back injury. It’s unclear what the exact injury is, but if we’ve learning anything from Al Aceves’ plight, it’s that there’s no such thing as a minor back injury. The Yanks weren’t exactly in love with the idea of Robbie participating in the HR Derby, so I’m hopeful this is just a phantom injury designed to keep him out of the competition. Let’s see if he’s in the lineup tonight.